Items planned to be sold in an online auction to support the legal defense of Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, MD, were posted briefly on eBay last night. Items posted include an autographed protest bullhorn, drawings by another inmate and signed by Scott Roeder, and a prison cookbook written by Shelley Shannon, who shot Dr. Tiller five times in 1993, according to Talking Points Memo. Currently, the pages for the items state that the listing "has been removed, or this item is not available."
Last week, eBay announced plans to block the auction and, according to the Associated Press, eBay said, "Based on the details we know about the anticipated listings, we believe these would violate our policy regarding offensive material. The company intends to remove any listings that are posted due to policies that bar listings promoting or glorifying violence or hatred." On Friday, eBay's associate general counsel for government relations, Jack Christin Jr., said "We do not oppose all listings that raise money for legal defense funds...However, our policy does not permit listings that benefit someone charged with or convicted of a crime."
The trial for Roeder has been postponed until January 2010. Roeder's trial for first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault had originally been set to begin in September of this year. If convicted of all charges, Roeder faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Dr. Tiller, who was medical director of the Women's Health Care Services clinic in Wichita, Kansas, was killed in May at his church. The Department of Justice opened an investigation in June to look into possible federal crimes associated with the murder. 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.