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From Cliff Judy at the courthouse - 6:45pm:
Prosecutors wasted no time getting to the point in Scott Roeder's murder trial Friday morning, and the first courtroom argument over the abortion issue has already occurred. Jurors also saw pictures of Dr. George Tiller's body.
Roeder has already admitted to killing Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller while Tiller served as an usher at his east Wichita church last May. He's charged with first degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault for allegedly threatening two men who tried to chase him from the church.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston gave the prosecution's opening statement. Prosecutors say Roeder went to Reformation Lutheran Church both the Sunday he shot Dr. Tiller and the Sunday before. Foulston also told jurors they'd hear evidence Roeder bought the gun he used just a week before the shooting.
As Foulston tried to build a case for premeditation, she said law enforcement found evidence of planning the murder in Roeder's home. While serving a search warrant, officers found a May calendar with the Sunday Tiller was killed highlighted and a brochure from Reformation Lutheran Church.
"This defendant, Scott Roeder, should be convicted of all charges," said Foulston.
Before the lunch break, jurors had already heard the 911 call saying Tiller'd been shot. Kathy Wegner, who made the call, also took the stand during the morning session.
"I heard a popping that to me sounded like a balloon popping," Wegner testified with voice quivering, "and then I saw Dr. Tiller just...just fall flat on his back."
Dr. Paul Ryding, another fellow church member, took the stand Friday afternoon. Neither Ryding nor Wegner wanted their pictures taken, a theme that's likely to continue for Tiller's fellow church members the rest of the trial.
Ryding, the man who'd tried to resuscitate Tiller after the shooting, told prosecutors he'd seen Roeder at the church before. Ryding felt like Roeder had an agenda after talking with him.
"He was not there to worship," said Ryding. "There was another agenda."
Defense attorneys tried to push that issue. If the defense can bring the abortion issue into the trial, they could attempt a trial strategy to get lesser charges against Roeder like voluntary manslaughter. Prosecutors will fight that strategy and have already told Eyewitness News Reporter Cliff Judy they don't even want the word abortion mentioned at trial.
Tiller's family was in the courtroom and were visibly disturbed when seeing pictures of his body taken by officers and forensics investigators at the crime scene.
Lindsey Roeder, Scott Roeder's ex-wife, says she doesn't believe any of his relatives will attend trial. Several family members have condemned his alleged actions and say they believe he should be punished.