Wichita, Kan. – The sentence for the Kansas City man who killed Kansas abortion provider Doctor George Tiller is fifty years in prison at the minimum. The day-long sentencing hearing concluded after sometimes passionate testimony.
52-year-old Scott Roeder took the witness stand to try to mitigate his guilt, appealing for a lesser number of years before he can see a parole board, on a life sentence. Tiller was shot down last year as he attended Sunday worship at his church.
Roeder told sentencing judge Warren Wilbert he agonized whether to kill the doctor, knowing he would spend years in prison for so doing. Roeder deflected fault for his actions, citing Kansas abortion laws.
"Had the courts acted rightfully I would not have shot George Tiller," Roeder said. "The blame for George Tiller's death lies more with the state of Kansas than with me."
The life term was mandatory. The only question today was how long Roeder would serve before he can apply for a parole hearing. And with Roeder's age at 52, he will be an old man before that hearing might be held. The sentence is known among court watchers as the "hard fifty."