Letters to son show accused Tiller killer's evolving beliefs

KANSAS CITY — In a series of letters, the man accused of killing a Wichita abortion doctor attempts to convince his young son that a heathen government must be resisted.

While some of the letters Scott Roeder wrote from 1996 to 2002 begin unremarkably, with praise for his son’s good grades and musical performances, they go on to reveal his evolving beliefs.

They paint a portrait of a man whose religious, political and anti-abortion views were becoming more extreme — insisting, for example, that Jesus be called “Yahshua” and that Christmas shouldn’t be celebrated. The income tax is ungodly, Roeder instructs, and in a letter on his son’s 13th birthday, Roeder defends his failure to pay child support.

Roeder, of Kansas City, is scheduled today for a preliminary hearing on charges that he murdered abortion provider George Tiller, who was shot on May 31 while ushering in his church.

The handwritten letters were provided to The Kansas City Star by Roeder’s ex-wife, Lindsey. The couple divorced in 1996. Their son, Nicholas, is now 22.

“These letters show a person totally different than the person I married,” Lindsey Roeder told The Star. “When they would arrive in the mail, I would read bits and pieces to Nicholas. I would say, ‘You got a letter from Daddy. He loves you.’ ”

Nicholas approved of releasing the letters, she said, but did not want to talk about them.

“He was shocked when he recently read the full letters,” she said. “He still hasn’t read them all yet.”

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