Manslaughter does not mean what he thinks it does.
January 11, 2010 10:00 AM Subscribe
The man on trial for the murder of Dr. George Tiller can be convicted of manslaughter.
A judge in Wichita, Kansas ruled on January 8, 2010, that the jury in the trial of Scott Roeder can choose to convict him on the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter, rather than first-degree murder.
The judge had previously prohibited the use of the "necessity" defense
- that is, the defense that Roeder had to shoot Dr. Tiller to save unborn children. Such a defense would allow Roeder's defense team to pursue a full acquittal.
Voluntary manslaughter, under Kansas state law
, is the intentional killing of a human being committed a) upon sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion; or
b) upon an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force. Compared to the life sentence that first-degree murder carries, if convicted on the lesser charge, Roeder would serve around five years, depending on his previous criminal record.