Scott Roeder, 52, faced a mandatory life prison term for gunning down Dr. George Tiller in the back of Tiller's Wichita church last May. Tiller was one of the few U.S. doctors who performed late-term abortions.Maximum penalty under the law, and I'm glad he got every second of it. I don't care how you feel about abortion personally, there's no justification for what Roeder did. None. You want to work to change the law of the land? Your choice to do so. This is America, you get to do that. You want to kill a doctor for this? You go to prison for a very, very long time.
Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert could have made the Roeder eligible for parole after 25 or 50 years, but gave him the harsher sentence because he said the evidence showed Roeder stalked Tiller before killing him.
Wilbert also sentenced Roeder to serve an additional year in prison on each of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening two church ushers in the melee. That means -- allowing for possible time off those sentences for good behavior -- Roeder won't be eligible for parole for 51 years and eight months.
But it's a sacrifice Scott Roeder believed he had to make. There are more Scott Roeders in America than George Tillers, so a one-to-one attrition rate like that clearly favors the Scott Roeders in the long run.
There's a cheery thought.