Preliminary hearings for Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, MD, are set to begin Tuesday. Roeder has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. If convicted, he faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, reports the Associated Press.
Roeder has given multiple interviews on the shooting and the possible defenses he may attempt. In interviews with the Kansas City Star, Roeder claimed that Kansas laws state that a homicide is justifiable if committed "in the defense of self and others." He said his lawyers have advised against such a defense, because the victim in a justifiable homicide must be engaged in illegal activity.
Retired Shawnee County, Kansas, District Judge Terry Bullock told the AP, "Justifiable homicide typically means self-defense - you are defending yourself, your home, your wife or somebody like that," Bullock said. "It is not that you have a good motive." Roeder's brother David has said that Roeder has suffered from mental illness, and Roeder himself has acknowledged that he was diagnosed with schizophrenia as a teenager, raising the possibility of a diminished mental capacity defense.
The Department of Justice opened the investigation to look into possible federal crimes associated with the murder of Dr. Tiller in June. The federal government also convened a meeting of the National Task Force on Violence Against Reproductive Health Care Providers in the days following the murder and Attorney General Eric Holder deployed US Marshals to protect highly threatened clinics and staff.
Media Resources: Associated Press 7/27/09; Kansas City Star 7/25/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/8/09
4/17/2014 Supreme Court of India Recognizes Transgender Rights - India's Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that official documents must allow transgender people to identify as a third gender and directed the federal and state governments to include transgender people, known as hijras, in welfare programs such as education, health care, and job programs.
"All documents will now have a third category marked 'transgender,'" said Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist who petitioned the court. . . .