Scott Roeder sentenced to life in prison
The man who murdered abortion doctor George Tiller receives the maximum possible life sentence of 50 years
Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion extremist who murdered Dr George Tiller, shouted "The blood of babies is on your hands!" as he was led from the courtroom in Wichita, Kansas after receiving a life sentence without parole for 50 years.
Roeder was also sentenced to 24 consecutive months for aggravated assault after threatening to kill two church members who confronted him as he left the Reformation Lutheran Church where he shot Dr Tiller in May last year. Dr Tiller operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed.
During the trial Roeder made lurid threats that God "will avenge every drop of innocent blood, " and that God's judgment against the US would "sweep over this land like a prairie wind."
The judge opted to sentence Roeder to the "hard 50" of 50 years without parole, rather than a lighter sentence of 25 years, because of evidence that Roeder had systematically stalked Dr Tiller before killing him.
Earlier, Roeder had attempted to turn the hearing into a platform for an anti-abortion diatribe, but was stopped by the judge, who said: "It is your opportunity to convince me you need a lesser sentence. It is not a soapbox for your political views."
After the sentence was announced, the prosecuting district attorney, Nola Foulston, said: ''This was an act of terrorism, an act of brutality.''
Dr Tiller's family made a statement through their lawyers welcoming the verdict and sentence:
This crime was cruel and heinous not only because it took our husband, father and grandfather; but because it was a hate crime committed against George – but also against all women and their constitutional rights.
We only can hope that this sentence will serve as a deterrent to those who have conspired and continue to conspire to murder abortion providers. Certainly everything possible should be done by the prison system to insure that this man does not continue to foment hatred and violence from his prison cell.
Dr Tiller's story is being told every day in the lives of the women he helped. His legacy cannot be diminished by the act of a single terrorist.