WICHITA, Kan. (CBS/AP) The man who murdered George Tiller, one of the few American doctors who performed late-term abortions, used his sentencing hearing as a forum to espouse his views in an effort to justify his crime.
Scott Roeder argued that he had chosen to obey "God's law" to save babies.
"I stopped him so he could not dismember another innocent baby," Roeder said. "Wichita is a far safer place for unborn babies without George Tiller."
Roeder was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years, the longest sentence possible under Kansas law for first-degree murder.
The 52-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, man killed Tiller as Tiller was serving as an usher last May in the foyer of the doctor's church in Wichita.
Roeder also was sentenced to an additional year in prison on each of two counts of aggravated assault for threatening two church ushers as he fled. With time off for good behaviour, Roeder won't be eligible for parole for 51 years and eight months.
An attorney for Tiller, speaking in court as a friend of the slain doctor, said the toughest sentence would discourage other anti-abortion zealots from attacking doctors. Tiller's widow, Jeanne, cried as the sentence for murder was announced.
"We only can hope that this sentence will serve as a deterrent to those who have conspired and continue to conspire to murder abortion providers," the Tiller family said in a statement. "Certainly everything possible should be done by the prison system to insure that this man does not continue to foment hatred and violence from his prison cell."
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