WITCHITA, Kan., Jan. 30 (UPI) -- The guilty verdict issued to the killer of Kansas abortion doctor George Tiller wasn't surprising, his attorney says.
The murder conviction of Scott Roeder came after a Wichita, Kan., jury deliberated only 37 minutes Friday following six days of testimony that drew activists from both sides of the abortion issue. Roeder had admitted shooting Tiller to death at the abortion provider's church last year but contended unsuccessfully in court he did so to protect unborn children.
Steve Osburn, Roeder's attorney, said his client's conviction on murder and aggravated assault charges -- in which prosecutors said the anti-abortion activist gunned down Tiller at his church last May -- did not catch him by surprise, The Kansas City Star reported.
"This is exactly what I expected would happen," Osburn told the newspaper. "We did the best we could with the facts that we had."
Tiller's attorney issued a statement after the verdict saying, "Once again, a Sedgwick County (Kan.) jury has reached a just verdict."
U.S. Justice Department officials told the newspaper a federal investigation is continuing in the Tiller case. Abortion rights advocate Kathy Spillar of the Feminist Majority Foundation said it is the group's hope "a thorough and rigorous investigation will be conducted into whether or not this murder was part of a conspiracy to kill Dr. Tiller and to kill other doctors."
The Star said Roeder's sentencing is set for March 9.