Pro-Life protesters demonstrate in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on the 37th Anniversary of the Roe v Wade Supreme Court ruling on Capitol Hill in Washington on January 22, 2010. UPI/Madeline Marshall | License Photo
WICHITA, Kan., April 1 (UPI) -- The killer of a Wichita, Kan., doctor who performed late-term abortions, was sentenced Thursday to at least 50 years without parole.
During a daylong hearing, Scott Roeder, 52, defended the shooting of Dr. George Tiller and criticized Judge Warren Wilbert for not letting him justify the killing at his trial.
Wilbert gave Roeder a "Hard 50" sentence, life with no parole eligibility for 50 years, The Kansas City (Mo.) Star reported. The judge's other option was life with no parole for 25 years.
Roeder, 52, asked Judge Warren Wilbert why it was OK to "speak openly and freely at sentencing, but not openly and freely at my trial."
Roeder was found guilty in January of first-degree murder after he testified he shot Dr. George Tiller in the head last May while Tiller was serving as an usher in his church. Tiller was one of a few doctors in the United States who performed late-term abortions..
"It is no secret that George Tiller killed unborn babies for a living under the pretense of medicine and choice," Roeder said.
Noting abortions were illegal three decades ago, Roeder said: "It was murder then, and it was murder now. We do not change reality by changing the law."
The judge stopped him after about 40 minutes, saying the hearing was not a "soapbox."
Before Roeder spoke, attorney Lee Thompson gave a statement on behalf of the Tiller family, The Wichita Eagle reported. Thompson called the killing "an act of terrorism."