Yesterday Kansas District Judge Warren Wilbert sentenced Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion extremist who killed abortion provider Dr. George Tiller at his church in May, to the harshest possible sentence. Roeder received a “Hard 50,” which means he must serve 50 years in prison before he will be up for parole.
Roeder was found guilty of first-degree murder on Jan. 29 and has always been upfront that he killed Dr. Tiller because he believed doing so would save the lives of “preborn children.” Tiller was one of the few providers in the United States who performed late-term abortions, which occur in the second or third trimester, usually if the fetus has serious abnormalities, or the health or life of the woman is at stake.
Judge Wilber said Roeder’s act of shooting Tiller at his Wichita, Kansas, church was “heinous, vicious and cruel,” which is one of the considerations for a “Hard 50″ sentence. At 52 years old, it is not unreasonable to assume Roeder might be in prison till his death.
According to the Kansas City Star, throughout the sentencing, Roeder interrupted Judge Wilbert several times to say things like “babies were dying” and “baby-murdering is chaos and anarchy.” Furthermore, as he was led out of the courtroom, Roeder shouted at the prosecutors, “The blood of babies are on your hands.” (The judge had allowed Roeder to make a controversial plea of “voluntary manslaughter” out of his honest belief that deadly force was justifiable.)
After the sentencing, an attorney for the Tiller family called the murder a “cruel act of domestic terrorism” by anti-abortion extremists. “[Dr. Tiller] gave his life for the rights of women,” attorney Lee Thompson said. “The impact of his death on women throughout the world is like an earthquake.” [Kansas City Star]