WICHITA — Prosecutors asked a judge this morning to prohibit Scott Roeder from using voluntary manslaughter in his defense during his first-degree murder trial in the shooting of George Tiller.
Judge Warren Wilbert set a hearing on the state's motion for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, postponing jury selection in the trial for two days. Jury selection had been scheduled to begin this morning.
Roeder, 51, is charged in the May 31 shooting death of Tiller, one of four doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions when pregnancy threatened the health of the woman. Roeder had claimed he killed Tiller to protect the unborn.
In its motion this morning, the state asked Wilbert to "exclude all references in jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination" and rule any proposed evidence about what is known as the "imperfect self-defense" irrelevant to the murder trial.
Kansas law defines voluntary manslaughter as the "unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force" during an intentional killing.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Kim Parker wrote in her motion that case law indicates "the attacker must have an actual fear of an imminent attack, regardless of whether the belief is reasonable."
Parker has argued that there was no immediate threat to the unborn because Tiller wasn't shot at his clinic but in the foyer of his church, as he stood at a snack table serving as an usher.
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