Courts & Crime

Scott Roeder to testify in his defense during murder trial

WICHITA — As prosecutors wrap up their case in Scott Roeder's murder trial today, the man charged with killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller is preparing to testify in his defense.

"Scott is absolutely planning to testify," said Dave Leach, an anti-abortion activist from Des Moines who visited Roeder in jail last night. "He's been practicing with his attorneys."

Leach said Roeder was pleased at how the trial was going and was surprised when prosecutors on Monday brought up the abortion issue during the questioning of a witness after avoiding the subject to that point.

The prosecution is expected to finish presenting evidence this afternoon, wrapping up four days of testimony. Later today, Judge Warren Wilbert will take up some legal motions, and the defense plans to begin presenting its case on Thursday, with former Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline expected to take the stand.

Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, is charged with first-degree murder in the May 31 death of Tiller, one of a handful of doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions.

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