Scott Roeder: From the Prosperity Gospel to the Justifiable Homicide Defense

Earlier this week it was reported that Scott Roeder, the man accused of murdering Dr. George Tiller, had hired a prominent anti-abortion attorney and planned to use a “justifiable homicide” defense. The article also reported that Roeder’s defense was getting assistance from outside activists:

Dave Leach, an anti-abortion activist in Des Moines, Iowa, who in 1996 reprinted the Army of God manual that lists ways to damage abortion clinics, recently wrote a legal brief for Roeder’s case on the “necessity defense.” He argued that had the alleged shooter not acted, the killing of hundreds of babies every week would have continued. He sent it to Roeder’s public defenders, but they have not responded.

Last night, Alan Colmes had Leach on his program to defend his brief [PDF] and Leach repeatedly asserted that the destruction of clinics and the murder of doctors are entirely justified. Leach insisted that Roeder was being denied a jury trial, which is untrue, and tried to keep the discussion narrowly focused on that issue but Colmes was having none of it and pressed him to explain how, if Roeder is found not guilty at this trial, this wouldn’t give anti-abortion activists carte blanche to go out and kill abortion providers.  In response, Leach asserted that a successful justifiable homicide defense would actually mean that no other abortion provider would ever be killed because activists would be able to shut down their clinics by simply blocking access to them.  But Leach also asserted that such a defense would probably only work for Roeder because Tiller’s actions were “pretty extreme”:

The most interesting aspect of this discussion actually came after the interview with Leach ended when Roeder’s ex-wife called into the show and explained how, when they were first married, Roeder was an average guy but eventually became extremely invested in the prosperity gospel movement and began sending large sums of money to evangelist Robert Tilton. After that, Roeder found himself unable to pay his bills and so he stopped paying his taxes and, from there, proceeded to go completely off the deep end: