Why Kansas D.A. can't seek the death penalty in Tiller case

Wichita EagleJune 4, 2009 

WICHITA, Kan. — Sedgewick County District Attorney Nola Foulston has said she will not seek the death penalty for Scott Roeder, the accused murderer of abortion provider George Tiller. The reason lies in Kansas law, which allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty only when a killing involves specific circumstances. None of those circumstances apply in the Tiller case, Foulston said.

The seven circumstances are:

-- Killing in the commission of a kidnapping.

-- Killing as part of a contract or an agreement.

-- Killing by a prison inmate.

-- Killing a victim of rape or sodomy.

-- Killing a law enforcement officer.

-- Killing more than one person.

-- Killing a child younger than age 14 as part of a kidnapping during the commission of a sexual offense.

Scott Roeder has been charged with one count of first-degree murder in Tiller's death and two counts of aggravated assault for threatening and brandishing a gun at two members of Tiller's church who confronted him after the shooting.

A preliminary hearing is tentatively set for June 16.

McClatchy Washington Bureau is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service