KCUR News
11:45 am
Tue July 28, 2009

Preliminary Hearing For Scott Roeder Begins Today

Kansas City, MO – Scott Roeder, the man accused of killing Dr. George Tiller in Wichita two months ago may enter a plea in court today. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.

Tiller was one of the few doctors in the country who provided abortions in the last months of pregnancy, and a long-time target of abortion foes.

A few hours after Tiller was murdered in his church, Johnson County law enforcement officers stopped Roeder on I-35 heading toward his home in suburban Kansas City. Witnesses at the church identified Roeder as the shooter. He had picketed the church before, and was familiar to some members of the congregation.

Defense attorneys haven't disclosed their plans for making a plea. Roeder, who 51, has struggled with mental illness, including schizophrenia, but claims he's been in good mental health lately. In phone interviews with an Associated Press reporter, Roeder has stopped just short of admitting the murder, frequently framing the killing as a "justifiable homicide."

Roeder faces 25 years to life, if he's convicted on the first degree murder charge.