A lawsuit against a Kansas woman who publicly proclaimed her admiration for the man who gunned down one of the country’s few late-term abortion providers is revealing the unwavering support a small group of radical anti-abortion activists has for the imprisoned killer despite an ongoing federal investigation into the 2009 slaying.
Though no federal indictments have been handed down by a grand jury investigating whether Dr. George Tiller’s death was connected to a broader case involving extreme anti-abortion activists, the lawsuit against Angel Dillard is one indication the Justice Department is taking a more heavy handed approach to perceived threats to abortion providers. In addition to alleging Dillard, of Valley Center, sent a threatening letter in 2011 to another Wichita doctor who was training to offer abortions, the lawsuit also highlights Dillard’s relationship with Scott Roeder, the man convicted of fatally shooting Tiller at the physician’s church.
When Roeder opened fire on Tiller, he propelled himself to icon status among abortion opponent extremists — a status that hasn’t wavered since he was sentenced to life in prison. A leader in the Army of God, which supports violence against abortion doctors, notes Roeder gets more correspondence than other imprisoned anti-abortion activists.
Hailed by militant anti-abortion forces as a “prisoner of Christ,” Roeder has been spreading his radical views from a Kansas prison. Other extremists have gravitated to Roeder, visiting him in prison, sending him money and offering legal advice, court documents show.
The story behind the murder of Dr. George Tiller is chilling indeed, perhaps mainly for what it reveals of the extensive support network of anti-abortion extremists who enable these religiously motivated acts of terrorism.
Amanda Robb at Ms Magazine points out a simple fact about anti-abortion murderer Scott Roeder: he did not act alone. He had an extensive support network of Christian anti-abortion extremists, many of whom are quite open about their belief that murdering abortion doctors is “justifiable homicide.” Roeder wasn’t the first killer in this amorphous movement of religious fanatics, and he probably won’t be the last: Not A Lone Wolf.
Scott Roeder’s web of connections. Click to embiggen.While under financial stress in 1992, Roeder happened upon right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson’s 700 Club on television. He claims he fell to his knees and became a born-again Christian. According to his own recollections and those of his ex-wife, he immediately fixated on what he considered two earthly evils: taxes and abortion.
In very short order, he affiliated himself with Christian anti-government groups such as the Freemen militia and eventually became involved with antiabortion groups such as Operation Rescue and the Army of God, the latter of which openly sanctions the use of violence to stop abortion.
Roeder told me that his first act as an anti-abortion activist was to protest outside a Kansas City women’s clinic. Among the protestors he came to know were Anthony Leake, a proponent of the “justifiable homicide”of abortion doctors, and Eugene Frye, the owner of a Kansas City construction company who, together with another antiabortion activist, had been arrested in 1990 for attempting to reinsert the feeding tube of a Missouri woman in a persistent vegetative state. Frye had also been arrested for blockading abortion clinics during the 1991 Summer of Mercy in Wichita, which was organized by Operation Rescue.
Through Frye, Roeder says, he soon met Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon. She, like Frye, had attended the Summer of Mercy protests; over the next two years she would commit eight arson or acid attacks on abortion clinics in the Pacific Northwest. Then, most horrifically, on August 19, 1993, she would try to murder Dr. George Tiller, succeeding only in shooting and wounding him in both his arms.
Roeder says Frye took him to visit Shannon where she was incarcerated in Topeka. Roeder was instantly smitten with the intense, unrepentant shooter. Frye had made a match. Roeder began visiting Shannon without Frye: Over the years, while she served her 30-year-long sentence for the clinic attacks and the attemptedmurder, Roeder would see her some 25 times. As his marriage began disintegrating, he even considered asking the raven-haired Shannon about beginning a romance. But, he told me, he did not because of the obvious obstacles involved in dating an incarcerated woman.
Still, Roeder and Shannon stayed close—and he began contemplating killing Dr. Tiller himself. Maybe it would be a car crash; maybe he’d shoot him sniper-style from a rooftop near Tiller’s clinic. Or maybe he would just cut off Dr. Tiller’s hands with a sword. Roeder testified to all of these at his trial.
While protesting at a Kansas City abortion clinic, Roeder also met Regina Dinwiddie, who had been arrested along with Frye during Operation Rescue’s 1991 Summer of Mercy in Wichita. A nurse from Kansas City, she was the first person to face a civil restraining order under the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act because, according to the complaint, she would not stop screaming threats at abortion clinic patients and personnel. The clinic director said Dinwiddie once told her, “Patty, you have not seen violence yet until you see what we do to you!” Dinwiddie, an admitted member of the violencepromoting Army of God, was also arrested at Operation Rescue’s 1988 Siege of Atlanta. Authorities housed the anti-abortion activists in a separate unit—which became a terrorist seedbed. Also arrested and incarcerated along with Dinwiddie were Shannon, Jayne Bray and James Kopp. Bray is the wife of Michael Bray, the so-called lifetime chaplain of the Army of God, who was, at that time, incarcerated elsewhere for a series of clinic bomb attacks.
It should also be noted that even among right wingers who don’t belong to any of these extremist groups, and who don’t openly advocate murder, there was an appalling amount of cheering when Scott Roeder shot Dr. George Tiller in the head at a church.
Anti-abortion murderer Scott Roeder is going to spend at least the next 50 years in prison.
“The blood of babies is on your hands!” he yelled at prosecutors as bailiffs led him from the courtroom.
The jury in Wichita, Kansas, deliberated for just 37 minutes today before finding anti-abortion fanatic Scott Roeder guilty of first degree murder in the killing of Dr. George Tiller.
Roeder testified that he shot Tiller in the head May 31 in the foyer of Tiller’s church in Wichita because he believed the physician posed an “immediate danger” to unborn children. His attorneys were hoping to get a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter for Roeder, but the judge ruled that the jury could not consider such a verdict.
Prosecutors told the judge they will seek a minimum sentence of 50 years for Roeder during his sentencing. …
In his testimony, Roeder told jurors he had considered elaborate schemes to stop the doctor, including chopping off his hands, crashing a car into him or sneaking into his home to kill him. …
But in the end, Roeder told the jury, the easiest way was to walk into Tiller’s church, put a gun to the man’s forehead and pull the trigger.
Scott Roeder, the fanatical anti-abortion “activist” who confessed to murdering Dr. George Tiller in church, will not be allowed to use the ludicrous “necessity defense” in his trial — which is no surprise.
Under a necessity defense, a defendant argues an action was justified because breaking the law was more advantageous to society than following it. Several anti-abortion activists facing criminal charges have attempted to use the defense but none has been successful.
In an Associated Press interview last month, Roeder admitted killing Tiller and said he plans to argue at this trial that the shooting was justified.
“Because of the fact preborn children’s lives were in imminent danger, this was the action I chose,” he said. “… I want to make sure that the focus is, of course, obviously on the preborn children and the necessity to defend them.”
Last Wednesday we noted a report that eBay had rejected an auction by a radical anti-abortion group to raise money for alleged murderer Scott Roeder: EBay Says No to Scott Roeder Benefit Auction.
According to TPM, however, the auction did go online for a brief time before being pulled down. The person who posted the items, mission.of.life, registered at eBay on October 30, 2009, so this may have been an attempt to get around eBay’s first rejection with a new account.
But Google’s cache still has it here: Drawings Commissioned by Scott Roeder - eBay (item 200401118000 end time Nov-04-09 21:09:16 PST).
And three of the disturbing drawings “commissioned” from a fellow prisoner by Scott Roeder are still online at eBay.
All of these drawings glorifying murder are signed by Roeder, “To all you precious prolifers, thank you for all your support, Scott Roeder.”
The Kansas City Star’s Judy L. Thomas reports that eBay has rejected an auction by anti-abortion extremists intended to raise money for Scott Roeder, the alleged murderer of Dr. George Tiller. The auction would have included items such as an Army of God manual, a “cookbook” compiled by a woman in prison for abortion clinic bombings, and signed drawings by Roeder.
An eBay auction planned by abortion opponents to raise money for the man accused of killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller will not be permitted, company officials said Tuesday.
“Based on the details we know about the anticipated listings, we believe these would violate our policy regarding offensive material,” the company said in a statement to The Kansas City Star. “EBay will not permit the items in question to be posted to the eBay site, and they will be removed if they are posted.”
Roeder’s psycho-fanatical fans are as unacquainted with the US Constitution and the meaning of the First Amendment as they are with simple human decency.
Those working on the fundraiser said banning the auction was a violation of their rights.
“They’re not only chilling the First Amendment of the Constitution, they’re raping the whole Constitution,” said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City abortion opponent and friend of Roeder.
Apparently Dinwiddie and her posse are trying to get Roeder to plead “justifiable homicide” in the murder of of Dr. Tiller. Otherwise known as a “good luck with that” defense.
The more extreme anti-choice activists give themselves permission to do almost anything in the name of God. The latest example — an eBay auction of memorabilia from the violent fringe: Online auction to raise funds in Scott Roeder case.
An Army of God manual. A prison cookbook compiled by a woman doing time for abortion clinic bombings and arsons. An autographed bullhorn.
These are among the items that abortion foes plan to auction on eBay and other Web sites in a fundraiser for Scott Roeder, the Kansas City man charged with killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller.
“This is unique,” said Regina Dinwiddie, a Kansas City anti-abortion activist who will sign the bullhorn. “Nobody’s ever done this before. The goal is that everybody makes money for Scott Roeder’s defense.” …
Among items that will go on the auction block, Dinwiddie said, are three drawings she received in the mail Wednesday from Roeder. Two drawings were done by another inmate at his direction, but Roeder autographed all of them.
“They’re wonderful pencil art drawings,” she said. “They were done in jail.”
One is a sketch of David and Goliath. “It has David with a slingshot in one hand and the head of Goliath in his other hand and the name ‘Tiller’ on Goliath’s forehead,” she said. “On the corpse on the ground, it says ‘child-murdering industry.’ ”
They encouraged and applauded his murder, but anti-choice fanatics aren’t finished with Dr. George Tiller yet.
Now the leader of the domestic terrorist group calling itself the “Army of God” has sent a letter to the church Tiller attended, telling pastors that they “brought damnation on themselves.”
A Virginia anti-abortion activist has sent a scathing letter to the church of slain Wichita abortion provider George Tiller, telling pastors they “brought damnation” onto themselves for failing to rebuke the “babykilling.”
The Rev. Donald Spitz, a longtime advocate of the belief that killing abortion doctors is an act of justifiable homicide, said he also mailed a letter to College Hill United Methodist Church, which offered its larger sanctuary to Tiller’s family for his funeral.
Tiller was shot to death in his church on May 31 while serving as an usher. Scott Roeder of Kansas City awaits a Jan. 11 trial on a charge of first-degree murder.
Spitz, who is the head of Pro-Life Virginia, runs a Web site called the Army of God. He has praised Roeder’s actions and calls him a “true American hero.”
“If Reformation Lutheran Church had done its job and brought George Tiller to repentance, he would be alive and the babies he killed would be alive,” Spitz said in a phone interview. “But George Tiller received his just reward, and Reformation Lutheran Church is to blame for his blood, and the blood of the children he murdered is on their hands.”
The word for this kind of tactic is “terrorism” — they’re letting the pastors of Tiller’s church know that if they don’t toe the line, they might be next.