Judge: Reason for Tiller’s killing relevant to sentencing

July 7, 2016 GMT

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge says the reason that abortion provider George Tiller was killed is not a legal defense for murder, but could be relevant for jurors in deciding how long Scott Roeder must stay in prison.

Sedgwick County District Judge Warren Wilbert said Thursday that Roeder’s state of mind during the May 31, 2009, killing could matter to a jury that’ll decide whether to resentence him to a minimum of 50 or 25 years before being eligible for parole.

Roeder was convicted of first-degree murder and has testified he killed Tiller to stop him from performing abortions.

Roeder’s life sentence with no chance of parole for 50 years was among many vacated after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that juries, not judges, must decide whether to increase punishment.