Political assassin Scott Roeder just gave a pre-sentencing speech, and I now feel like I need to take a shower and swab my ears with toilet paper and bleach. Mr. Roeder reads in a halting and hesitant manner, exhibiting the literacy of a low-achieving twelve-year-old trying to read an encyclopedia. He constantly rubbed his right hand up and down his right thigh like the sweaty child molester at the beginning of "Devil's Advocate."
It was clear from his reading of this lengthy manifesto that he did not write it. He stumbled over every fourth or fifth word, and one telling moment was when he used the word "object" in the context of "disagree" and pronounced it as though he was talking about an item on the desk before him. The diatribe was studded with literally hundreds of biblical quotes, which Mr. Roeder was using in an attempt to justify his disregard for the law of the land. He complained that he was not able to use his biblical precepts as a defense against his violation of civic law, and seemed to feel that if he had been able to do so that jury nullification would have set him free to be carried on the shoulders of his supporters in celebration.
He harangued the judge for essentially presiding over a kangaroo court. He claimed in so many words that if the government chose to disregard the teachings of his religion that he then had the right to take the law into his own hands. He called for the removal of Nola Foulston, District Attorney for Sedgwick County, for not upholding biblical standards in the execution of her duties. The entire time, his attorneys were fidgeting, looking the other way, leaning as far away from their client as they could, and showing every indication that they just wanted their client to shut up and quit insulting the court. The most chilling moment for me was when Mr. Roeder said, in the time-honored manner of wife-beaters around the world:
"The blame for George Tiller's death lies more with the state of Kansas than it does with me."
After about forty-five minutes of this disconnected rant, the judge interrupted to explain that Mr. Roeder's speaking time was for the purpose of explaining why he should receive the lightest sentencing possible and that this was not a forum for him to get on a soapbox and espouse his political beliefs. After conferring with his attorneys for several minutes, the lead attorney tried to explain why this statement was relevant to the sentencing, but the judge had no sympathy for that line of argument, saying that Roeder was not going to be permitted to follow the assassination of Dr. Tiller with the political and character assassination of District Attorney Foulston.
Roeder harshly criticized the judge and finally, one of his attorneys stopped him, and before they cut off the microphone, could be heard saying "stop it, I want you to know this is the last shot, your last chance..." and when the audio continued, the prosecution approached the bench with the book of statutes for court proceedings and stated to the court that Roeder was mounting a defense and trying to relitigate the matter before the court. The defense team then also approached the bench for one of those famous sidebar moments. With the patience of Job (yes, that was a gratuitous biblical reference from the atheist blogger) the judge let the off-mic debate continue for fifteen minutes, then told Mr. Roeder that his dissatisfaction was noted but that the arguments were irrelevant.
Roeder then tried to explain that he didn't deserve the Hard Fifty sentence allowed under statute because Dr. Tiller didn't know Roeder was stalking him and therefore suffered no fear before being brutally murdered. The judge read the sentencing guidelines to Roeder and notified him that argument wasn't going to be allowed. Roeder once again conferred with his attorneys. The judge then said that it was already past time for the court to close, but that he was going to finish this matter today. He then once again explained that this was only time for Roeder to present factors that would mitigate his sentence and that they would not be re-litigating the case because that part of the procedure was finished.
Roeder then went on to excoriate Tiller's church as a satanic enclave and once again the judge stopped him, saying he would not permit a political diatribe in a sentencing hearing. Roeder said he understood, and then said he wanted to read a statement to "all pregnant women," and the judge, with a sense of exasperation, tried to explain to Roeder that this was completely irrelevant to the sentencing matter before the court.
Roeder then tried to put the court on trial, and started slandering the District Attorney again. The judge stopped him again and Roeder finally summed up his speech with "twenty-five years for 'protecting life' or fifty years for 'protecting life?'" Roeder's attorneys then made their case for mitigation, the lack of prior criminal history of their client, and that a physician determined that the capacity of Roeder to understand the criminality of his conduct was impaired. The defense requested concurrent sentences totalling twenty-five years for Mr. Roeder.
Prosecution stated there were no mitigating factors because while Mr. Roeder had no history of criminal offenses, he had a long history of criminal activities, including stalking, premeditation, vandalism, and many more. Regarding capacity, the prosecution said he clearly made the decision to do this based upon his beliefs, and that because of those beliefs he did not respect the notion that civic society had any authority over him. Roeder interrupted, and once again, and with more exasperation the court explained that Roeder had his chance and now it was the prosecution's turn.
The court explained its understanding of statutes regarding lack of mental capacity as being designed for people who could not distinguish what was legal, and that in Roeder's case, the lack of capacity was only explained by his chosen belief system, not an inability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct. Judge Wilder said explicitly that the aggravating factors far outweighed the mitigating factors. Roeder repeatedly interrupted and was ignored, except for being told by the bailiff that he must be silent. By this point the aisles in the court were occupied by at least a half-dozen armed police officers standing about three feet apart.
Then came the money shot.
"The court will find that there are no mitigating factors that outweigh the aggravating factors..." was how Judge Wilder began as he imposed the Hard Fifty plus an additional two years for aggravating factors, a total of fifty-two years with no parole on this human compost heap. Even BTK was ashamed of his actions. Roeder was led out, shouting insults at the court and the prosecution. This entire affair took two hours from start to end, ending just before 6:00 PM local time.
Be advised, christianists. The authority of your belief stops where your skin does. You have no right to try to impose your belief on the citizens of this country. I'm a strong opponent of the death penalty, but this rabid dog really needs to be put down. He should consider himself fortunate.
He's a lot luckier than Dr. George Tiller was.