In the Broadway musical, Chicago, the women in The Cell Block Tango sing about the murder of their husbands: “He had it coming / He had it coming / He took a flower in its prime. / And then he used it / And he abused it / It was a murder but not a crime!” Far from Broadway, in a Wichita, Kansas courtroom, Scott Roeder is relying on a similar defense. Roeder is charged with the shooting murder of Dr. George Tiller, one of only a few doctors in the U.S. who was willing to perform late-term abortions. Yes, says Roeder, he bought the gun. Yes, he took it to Dr. Tiller’s church. And yes, he pressed it into Dr. Tiller’s forehead before pulling the trigger. But Roeder and his lawyers insist that’s not enough to charge him with first degree murder. Instead, defense lawyers are asking jurors to consider the motive behind the crime: Roeder’s increasing opposition to abortion. Roeder, who took the stand in his defense on Thursday, explained: “I did what I thought was needed to be done to protect children. I shot him. If I didn’t do it, the babies were going to die the next day.”
UPDATE: The Wichita jury has found Roeder guilty of first-degree murder after deliberating for only 37 minutes. Roeder faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole after 25 years.