Breaking: Scott Roeder Found Guilty Of First-Degree Murder

After only forty 37 minutes of deliberation this morning, a jury has found Scott Roeder guilty of the May 2009 murder of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.

Roeder's defense attorney Mark Rudy had argued that although Roeder admitted to killing Tiller, the jury had to determine if his crime was truly murder. Roeder testified that, "There was nothing being done, and the legal process had been exhausted, and these babies were dying every day. I felt that if someone did not do something, he was going to continue." Though judge Warren Wilbert eventually ruled out a voluntary manslaughter defense, which would have been based on the idea that Roeder thought his actions were justified, Rudy still told the jury, "No defendant should ever be convicted based on his convictions." Clearly, they felt "convictions" didn't give Roeder the right to kill. He will be sentenced on March 9.

Update: Roeder was also convicted of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening ushers at Tiller's church after the murder. He will receive a mandatory life sentence, but could win the possibility of parole in 25 years. Prosecutor Nola Foulston, however, says she will push for a "Hard 50" sentence, requiring him to serve 50 years before he could be paroled. In addition, he may be indicted on federal charges.

NARAL Pro-Choice America released a statement reading, in part,

Our thoughts are with Dr. Tiller's family and friends. Even though this conviction brings a murderer to justice, it won't replace the husband, father, and grandfather they lost last May. [...] We also call on opponents of a woman's right to choose to end the practice of inflammatory rhetoric and tactics that inspire this kind of violent action from the most extreme factions of the anti-choice movement. No other abortion provider's family should have to endure the tragedy of seeing their loved one killed for providing an essential and legal health service to women.

Murder Trial Of Anti-Abortion Activist Now Up To Jury [CNN]
Roeder Convicted Of Abortion Provider's Murder [CNN]
Scott Roeder Convicted Of Murdering Abortion Doctor George Tiller [LA Times]
Roeder Convicted Of Killing Kansas Abortion Provider [AP, via Wall Street Journal]
NARAL Pro-Choice America Statement On Jury's Conviction Of Scott Roeder [NARAL Pro-Choice America]