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Jury selection delayed in abortion doctor slaying

Mcclatchy Newspapers

Prosecutors asked a judge Monday to prohibit the man accused of killing abortion doctor George Tiller from using voluntary manslaughter in his defense.

Judge Warren Wilbert set a hearing for this afternoon, postponing jury selection in the first-degree murder trial for two days. Jury selection was to have begun Monday.

On Friday, Wilbert said he could see a situation where testimony would require him to give the jury an option of less severe charges than premeditated murder, including involuntary manslaughter.

Scott Roeder, 51, is charged in the May 31 shooting death of Tiller, one of four doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions. Roeder said he killed Tiller to protect the unborn.

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Kansas law defines voluntary manslaughter as the “unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force” during an intentional killing.

Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Kim Parker contended in her motion that case law indicated “the attacker must have an actual fear of an imminent attack, regardless of whether the belief is reasonable.”

Parker argued there was no immediate threat to the unborn because Tiller wasn’t shot at his clinic but in the foyer of his church.


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