Suspect in Tiller murder identified

A man suspected of shooting the abortion provider is in custody, but has not been charged

Published June 1, 2009 1:10AM (EDT)

According to the Associated Press, police have identified the man suspected of murdering abortion provider George Tiller as 51-year-old Scott Roeder of Merriam, Kansas. He is in custody but has not yet been charged with the crime.

Roeder has a history with Kansas law enforcement and with potentially violent political extremism. In 1996, he was stopped and arrested for driving a car without a valid license plate, apparently an act of protest. According to the Kansas City Star, the FBI believed that Roeder was a member of the Montana Freemen, a militia group that engaged in a standoff with authorities. His license plate read:


Private Property

Immunity Declared at Law

Non-Commercial American

Upon searching Roeder's car, police discovered bombmaking material including gunpowder and two six-volt lantern batteries. In his home, they found a two-page instruction manual, "Underground Cookbook: Clothes Pin Time-Delayed Switch" that reportedly gave directions for how to assemble a bomb with the items in his car. After later violating his parole for convictions stemming from that incident, Roeder was sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Various Internet sleuths have discovered two comments Roeder left on Web message boards about Tiller. In one, posted to Operation Rescue's Web site, he wrote:

Bleass (sic) everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp.

Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn’t seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller.

In another, on, Roeder said, "It seems as though what is happening in Kansas could be compared to the 'lawlessness' which is spoken of in the Bible. Tiller is the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgement upon our nation."

Salon found a different kind of Internet posting that appears to have been put up by Roeder. On, he listed himself as available to be a caregiver for the elderly, writing, "I haven't cared for seniors professionally, but am looking for a position to do so. I'm 50 years old myself, and feel I have the life experience, maturity and desire to provide compassionate and complete care to the elderly and those who are in need." In the ad, Roeder said he'd had some college education at Washburn University, in Topeka, and that he'd majored in French Government.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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