Courts & Crime

Roeder's Bible study group scrutinized in Tiller investigation

They met in each other's homes on Saturday, their Sabbath, for a potluck dinner and Bible study sessions.

Among the topics: Scripture, their Hebrew roots and the "secret societies" attempting to control government and culture.

Among the group members: Scott Roeder, the Kansas City man accused of killing Wichita abortion provider George Tiller.

As the investigation continues into whether Roeder acted alone in Tiller's May 31 death, members of the Bible study group have found themselves in the spotlight, showing up on the witness list for the prosecution and being interviewed by the FBI.

Even a rabbi at an Overland Park congregation of Messianic Jews has been questioned, although Roeder's group broke away after some members were asked to leave the synagogue.

"People are trying to make something out of nothing," said Michael Clayman, an attorney who was host for the group for a time in his Merriam home.

"It was like any other Bible study around town. It was a bunch of guys having spaghetti and meatballs, talking about philosophy. It wasn't a bunch of Jim Jones people meeting or drinking Kool-Aid or plotting things. No cult, no nothing."

The group does help explain the foundation of some of Roeder's beliefs, which included distrust of government and opposition to abortion.

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