A Wichita district court judge will allow Scott Roeder to use a voluntary manslaughter defense -- a tactic that could allow him to walk free after just four years if he is convicted of killing abortion provider Dr. George Tiller.
Roeder has admitted shooting Dr. Tiller in the head as the physician ushered at Sunday morning church service. But Roeder and his lawyers say this heinous act wasn't murder because he was driven by his religious fervor to save unborn children. Under Kansas law, voluntary manslaughter is the "unreasonable but honest belief" that the use of force was justified.
Judge Warren Wilbert insisted he was only following the rule of the law in allowing Roeder to claim he committed voluntary manslaughter instead of premeditated murder. Although the judge won't rule on giving instruction to the jury until after the evidence has been submitted, he has nevertheless opened the door that voluntary manslaughter can possibly be used as a defense.
(The above blurb is from a press release from the National Organization for Women))
My two cents:
Sure, he can claim that it wasn’t premeditated murder… but he took a gun to church, sat down in a pew, and waited until his particular pew was being “ushered” at by Tiller.
Also, no one was in immediate direct danger at the time of the shooting.
And let's not forget that just because you believe that you are justified in doing something, doesn’t mean you are… especially in the eyes of the law. “But officer… I needed to speed for the following reasons….” “The board of directors doesn’t need this money as much as I do, I’ll just take some….” “He made me angry so I spray painted his car…..”
I can see why people are upset by this ruling. It does set a precedent… but my hope, my fervent hope, is that it doesn’t work and then the precedent is set that lame brained attempts to back pedal your way out of a murder charge by claiming that your religion gives you the right to act like God will, in the future, be seen for what they are… big piles of nonsense.
Another thing to note, when your beliefs are strong enough to lead to murder…. We call that terrorism. We call it crazy. We don’t, as an enlightened society, allow for people to kill in the name of their religion. Sure, practice whatever sort of deity worship you want. Take off your clothes and dance in the moonlight or make your followers never ever ever remove those blessed undies and forbid dancing of any sort. Fine. But when religion starts being used to justify things like public policy or murder… that is where the line is.