WICHITA, Kans. — When Scott Roeder's murder trial begins Monday, the question won't be whether or not he killed George Tiller.
Roeder, 51, has already admitted shooting the 67-year-old Wichita abortion provider, but that's not the only thing that will set Roeder's case apart from a typical first-degree murder trial.
On the day of Tiller's death, abortion-rights advocates claimed that rhetoric by abortion opponents went too far and pushed someone to kill one of the country's four late-term abortion providers.
Anti-abortion advocates immediately disavowed Roeder's actions in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church, claiming that they never supported violence in their pursuit to end Tiller's practice. Now, Roeder's defense may say that the failures of the anti-abortion movement to close Tiller's clinic drove Roeder to kill Tiller.
Court officials said they have received media credential requests from more than 100 journalists who plan to cover the trial. In Session, formerly known as Court TV, also is airing the trial.
The high-profile nature of the case, with the contentious abortion issue as a backdrop, has law enforcement officials on heightened alert. Courthouse security is being beefed up, complete with bomb-sniffing dogs provided by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"We're planning for the worst and hoping for the best," said Sedgwick County Sheriff Bob Hinshaw.
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