Page last updated at 10:24 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

US anti-abortion gunman: 'I shot doctor to save lives'

Scott Roeder testifying at his trial in Wichita, Kansas - 28 Jan 2010
Scott Roeder faces life in prison if found guilty

A US man accused of murdering abortion doctor George Tiller has said he did it to save the lives of unborn children.

"I did what I thought was needed to be done to protect the children," Scott Roeder told the court in Wichita, Kansas. "I shot him."

Mr Roeder has pleaded not guilty to murder, arguing that he committed manslaughter to prevent a greater harm.

But the judge said the jury must only consider the more serious charge of premeditated murder.

Judge Warren Wilbert ruled that a charge of voluntary manslaughter could not be considered because abortion, including the late-term abortions conducted by Dr Tiller, was legal in Kansas.

The judge also ruled out a second-degree murder conviction, which does not involve premeditation.

Mr Roeder told the court on Thursday that he had long thought about killing Dr Tiller, saying he considered chopping off the doctor's hands, sneaking into his home to kill him or driving a car into him.

"Those children were in immediate danger if someone did not stop George Tiller," he said.

He was the sole witness to testify in his defence.

Dr Tiller was killed by a single gunshot at his Wichita church on 31 May, 2009.

Mr Roeder faces a possible life sentence if found guilty.

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Washington Post Swift murder conviction in abortion doctor's death - 5 hrs ago Activist Swiftly Convicted in Abortion Doc's Death - 7 hrs ago Man convicted of murdering U.S. abortion doctor - 15 hrs ago
Times Online Scott Roeder convicted of murder of abortion doctor George Tiller - 15 hrs ago Jury: Man Guilty of Murder in Kan. Abortion Provider's Death - 20 hrs ago

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