tv The Assassination of Dr. Tiller MSNBC June 16, 2013 3:00am-4:01am PDT
in politics, culture war is a term of art. it means americans finding the enemy here in our own country among other americans. it means finding where difference between us as americans produce foreand resentment and then stoking that fear and resentment to maximum effect. this is how you get wedge issues, raising culture war to scare some to get votes. it is not necessarily a term of art for some. they will literally kill for it. and seen as justifiable
assassination. here is one way that works in america today. >> 911. >> somebody just came and shot in our church. dr. george tiller was shot. >> why did you kill him sf. >> the lives of those children were in eminent danger. >> i was meant to have a cause. i was meant to have a purpose. >> mr. tiller set himself up as the abortion doctor for late-term abortion. >> some saw him as a great humanitarian. >> the anti-abortion movement had one mission in wichita, kansas, shut down dr. george till
tiller's clinic by any means necessary. >> stop killing babies. >> their approach was to wear him down and peck at him from every xwel. >> find out where the child killer lives. find out where his wife has her hair done. >> from harassing the staff, patients coming into the clinic. >> he was a vile, despicable human being. he was a murderer. >> out there somewhere is one soul who is listening to all of this and wants to be the person that rights the wrong. >> if someone did not stop him, they were going to continue to die, the babies were going to continue to die. >> and scott moder thought he was the redeemer. >> the day this event happened was a beautiful day. the service started with music being played. >> genie tiller was singing with the choir.
george tiller was an usher. his name was printed in the bulletin. >> i looked at my watch and seen it was a couple of minutes before 10:00. there was a pastry table. and i had made my way over to the table, just george and i. i was facing more toward the sanctuary. george had his back toward the sanctuary doors. out of my peripheral vision i notice noticed somebody coming up to the table. just as i looked up, i saw scott roder put a gun up to george's head and fire one shot. >> i heard a pop or report just like a firecracker. there was a considerable amount of evidence of bleeding that was occurring. i did start a resuscitation on dr. tiller in an easter to see if we could get response. >> just seconds after shooting dr. tiller in the head, scott
roder runs out of the church. he is pursued by two men. >> i just followed him right out the door. he was running through the grass. he turned around and he yelled over his shoulder, i've got a gun. i'll shoot you. and i just froze. >> roder kept running. keith martin took a different direction out. got to his vehicle, stood in front of it. the guy points the gun at him and says get out of my way. i'll kill you, too. roder was driving out they were next to each other. he threw a cup of coffee in at him. roder then left. >> at 1:30 in the afternoon, johnson county deputies take it upon themselves to watch interstate 35, the main road coming into kansas city and we're watching for the tourist and the tag we had broadcast. >> and they pulled him over.
>> step out of the vehicle and face away from me. >> they get roder out of the car, put his hands behind his back to lay down. they get down there, cuff him. he's in custody. >> it's no mystery who pulled the trigger but authorities work to track down any known associates of roder's to learn if others were involved. >> we had talked to his ex-employers. we talked to friends. we talked to his family. he did this very corrective. >> he meets with his defense team. >> we told scott, please don't talk to anyone about this, but he thought the issue was bigger than him, that people needed to know about the horrors of abortion, slowly, but surely he leaked everything out and said everything he had done and why he did it. >> he fired one shot into dr. tiller. >> roder is charged with
first-degree murder. they build a defense based on his belief against abortion. >> his belief was he was justified in shooting dr. tiller because it was imminent that he was going to do abortions the next day. so he, scott roeder, was saving lives by killing the killer before he committed the act. of course then, roeder testified. >> i've been trying cases on both sides for 20 years. it was a surreal experience knowing i'm going to put my client up and he he's going to admit to this crime. why did you kill him? >> those lives of those children were in imminent danger f someone didn't stop george tiller, he was going to continue as he had done 36 years prior.
they were going to continue to die. the babies were going to continue to die. >> i was just furious at scott roeder. and then i realized pretty soon that scott roeder is is a rather dull giechlt he doesn't seem like fs the brightest light in the string. he was reacting to an atmosphere of hatred. >> because to me he's just a tool. the climate was such that he could do this act. if everyone had been doing their job, scott roeder would not have killed dr. tiller. contract, please? thank you. that's three new paper shredders. [ boris ] put 'em on my spark card. [ garth ] boris' small business earns 2% cash back on every purchase every day. great businesses deserve unlimited rewards. read back the chicken's testimony, please. "buk, buk, bukka!" [ male announcer ] get the spark business card
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long before scott roeder shoots and kills dr. george tiller in his church on may 31, 2009, america had a long history of extreme violence against abortion providers and their employees. 1993, dr. david gunn is shot to death in pensacola, florida. 1994, two clinic workers are murdered in brookline, massachusetts. 1998, dr. barnett slepian is gunned down by a sniper as he stands in his own kitchen in buffalo, new york. in addition to three other murders, the national abortion federation reports that more than 200 american clinics have been subjected to bombs and arson since 1977. >> those are acts of domestic terrorism, which are intended to intimidate. so if i kill one doctor, maybe i'll intimidate a hundred doctors. >> my business is legal. their business of anarchy is illegal. >> reporter: george tiller was one doctor who could not be intimidated. he was one of just three physicians in the united states
who specialized in abortions done in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. >> he was not shy about publicizing what he did. and he certainly never apologized for what he did. it was a love/hate thing. few people had no feelings regarding dr. tiller. >> the first real flash of violence strikes in 1986 when a bomb is set off at the entrance to his clinic. >> we have had a major $100,000 bombing here in our organization. and one day later, we're in business. >> stop killing babies. >> five years later, starting in july 1991, wichita is the backdrop to an event known by anti-abortionists as the summer of mercy. >> it was a huge event. it was carried on the national news media nightly. >> i don't think that wichita wanted to be the focal point of
the summer of mercy, but the truth of the matter is, is that you had one of the most notorious child killers in the world there. and that was the price that that community had to pay for having this demonic barbarian in their midst. >> we fear god, the supreme judge of the world, more than any federal judge. >> in 1991 randall terry is the leader of the anti-abortion group operation rescue which organizes the demonstrations. their goal is to disrupt and ultimately close george tiller's clinic. >> some people would chain themselves underneath the car. and the whole point was to buy time. as long as we were sitting in front of the doors of abortion mill, he couldn't open it. >> we were under siege the whole time. we had patients who would come in from out of town, and the protesters wouldn't let them get
through. something that was legal, it felt like we were doing something wrong. >> there were over 2,500 arrests during the siege. >> it was a wonderful event. just a lot of people letting the world know the abortion industry was put on notice that we were going to defend the unborn baby, you know, until the law is changed. >> the volatile events of the summer of 1991 do not change any of the laws on abortion in the state of kansas. and they do not force george tiller to close his clinic doors and leave wichita. his roots in the city are deep, going back more than a century. while dr. tiller always aimed to practice medicine, he had never intended to specialize in abortion.
>> dr. tiller's father, jack tiller, was a family physician in wichita, kansas. quite renowned. and dr. tiller himself went to medical school. >> he was a flight surgeon in the navy when his parents and his sister and brother-in-law got killed in an airplane accident. >> so, dr. tiller came back to wichita. i think he was going to close the practice, and somehow decided to stay and take over the practice, which was family practice. >> in 2000 dr. tiller is interviewed by the group physicians for reproductive choice and health. he explains what drove him to focus on abortion. >> patients in my practice asked me if i was going to do abortions like my father did. and i was horrified. why would these nice people say that he was scum bag type physician? the women in my father's practice, for whom he did abortions, educated me and taught me that an abortion is a matter of survival for women.
>> he took care of patients and women and families that nobody else was able to take care of. >> well, i think he was very sure of himself, you know, that this is the right thing. he was very determined. >> but dr. tiller's resolve is not enough to protect his clinic or himself from further violence. >> as i saw point into the window and fired the shots. and it was silver. and then she turned and took off. >> in 1993 an anti-abortion extremist attacks dr. tiller as he's leaving work. >> it was 7:00 in the evening. and i think somebody comes up to hand me an anti-abortion booklet. and i thought, come on. and i was really pretty fired up so i gave her the finger. the next thing i noticed, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. i was holding my arms. i thought to myself, that lady
is shooting me with rubber bullets. i'm not afraid of rubber bullets. then i looked down and there was blood all over the place. >> she shot him through the window and hit his left arm and also his right arm. bullet went through both arms. >> the shooter is quickly arrested and identified as rochelle shelly shannon. a woman authorities soon tie to bombings of other clinics. >> shelly shannon was a solid believer in that violence was appropriate and that she was going to get the job done. she wasn't a very good shot, thank god. >> the doctors recommended he take a few days off. he said, no, i'm going to work. i have patients. >> you know, i'm just like my patients. you know, last night i got shot and i was scared, but there was somebody there to take care of me. >> so, the next day he just came in. his arms are bandaged. just work as usual.
>> he put up a big sign in front of his clinic that said, women need abortions and i'm going to do them. he felt, this is legal. it's a required service. and i'm going to do it. >> there was never any question in my mind that i was not going back to work the next day. i was going to work, hell or high water. i am not going to be run over. i'm not going to be run out. it's just that simple. all business purchases.
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work. it's not the kind of thing, oh, this is just my job, so i'm going to go 9:00 to 5:00. it's a deep desire to help people in incredibly desperate situations. there was just such pain. >> they were all catastrophes. you don't pick up and go from new york or washington state or france or new zealand and travel to wichita, kansas, on a whim. >> abortion has nothing to do with whether you're for it or against it. it just depends totally on your situation, and there were lots and lots of situations. >> three women who went to dr. tiller have chosen to share their stories here, but not all feel comfortable revealing their identities. >> it's important that i stay anonymous because this story isn't just my story. it's also my family's story. i also think that there's really
no need to put a face to my story since it could be anybody, really. >> i was -- i believe i was about 25 weeks pregnant. what we were told was she had less than a 3% chance of living through the birth. >> i grew to have the dreams for this child already. i had a nursery done in the fear the child would be severely disabled and that i would not be able to care for him. >> dr. tiller was the last option for people in my situation. that was the toughest choice i've ever had to make and probably will ever have to make. >> like most other abortion clinics around the world, the majority of procedures done at dr. tiller's clinic were for first trimester pregnancies. for the second and third trimester procedures, dr. tiller
and his staff provided much more specialized care. >> we divided the third trimester patients into two groups. fetal indications and maternal indications. the fetal indications group were the situation where there was something very, very wrong with the baby. >> and the other group were abortions that were being done for maternal indications. many of these women were suicidal. some of them were just ridiculously young, like 11 or 12 or 13. and this group of young women had to meet with a second doctor, who had to agree that this pregnancy represented a threat to their health. >> the biggest challenge was not the work itself, but the challenges were really outside the clinic. >> we started the presence at tiller's gate with the intention
of shutting down the tiller abortion facility. that was the ultimate goal. >> we would show up at the abortion clinic long before it would open and begin placing a series of christian crosses along the public easement in the grass. we would park the truth truck with the pictures of aborted children right across from his driveway. shortly after that, the patients would begin to arrive. >> it was a long, quiet ride into wichita. we had been warned that there would be picketers and protesters out front. >> there was a guy who came every wednesday and he would climb up on the table with a megaphone and look over our fence and scream through the megaphone at the people who came in, you in the lincoln, you have enough money to support a baby. why are you killing your baby? >> don't kill your baby. we'll help you. we'll give you a baby blanket and send you to the welfare office, we'll help.
>> if you can just break down that initial resistance and just start a conversation. >> if i've got 15 seconds, my first 5 or 8 seconds might be tender and pleading with them, and then my voice gets more shrill and, don't do this. don't let them murder your baby. mommy, please, don't kill me. mommy, don't kill me. while they're going in the door, as the door is shutting, just in the hope that some phrase that i say will haunt them while they're sitting in the waiting room. >> the patients were already sad to be coming there. and to be barraged with this constant hatred. they were already conflicted. they were -- nobody plans to have an abortion. nobody wants to have an abortion. >> it was a point when i wanted to get out of the car and walk right to them, you know, with my big belly and have them face me and see me and tell them they
can never possibly understand the pain and the sorrow and the anguish that i was going through. >> on one end of the spectrum you've got these people that are 100% sure that they're going to abort this baby. on the other hand, there are these at the other end of the spectrum that if you can reach them, they're the ones that are not only going to stop their car, they're going to roll down their window and they're going to start reading the material you hand them. the low hanging fruit is that which is just waiting to be picked. it's right there. all you have to do is ask her, how can we help you? >> on a number of occasions one of those people trying to persuade incoming patients not to go through with an abortion was a tall, soft-spoken man named scott roeder. >> did you ever sidewalk counsel in the city of wichita? >> yes.
>> where would that have been? >> at george tiller's clinic. >> by the early 1990s scott roeder had committed his life to fighting the abortion battle. but at one time years prior, he had chosen a much more conventional path. >> i met scott exactly on december 29, 1981. >> smile. >> that was upsetting. >> say something clever. >> something clever? >> he wasn't particularly romantic. but he was very sweet and very kind. we just hit it off. there was just something that clicked. there's this one time in our wedding, our heads are back and we're just laughing. we were just really happy. the trouble started, it was the summer before nick turned 3. and we just weren't making ends meet. and one day he had one of those aha moments. >> can you tell the jury what kind of led up to your conversion, if you will? >> yes. i had been watching the 700 club regularly, a christian program. i was alone in my living room.
and that day i kneeled down and i did accept christ as my savior. >> he discovered the pro-life movement. i don't think he had really had given abortion a thought up until '92 or '93. >> so, what are your feelings on the practice of abortion? >> from conception forward, it is murder. it is not man's job to take life or -- it is our heavenly father's. >> that's when he really began to meet people. it was shortly after that that he started talking about paul hill and how paul hill had killed the doctor in florida and you -- that was great. that was wonderful. >> around the same time roeder began reaching out to rochelle shannon, the imprisoned anti-abortion extremist who had attempted to murder dr. tiller in 1993. >> and did there come a time when you had face-to-face visits with her? >> yes.
>> so you would go to the prison in topeka and have visits with rochelle shannon? >> yes. >> did you admire shelly shannon? >> she was -- i guess, yeah. >> you admired her. and you admired her because she had tried to kill dr. tiller? >> i admired the fact that she -- >> is that a yes or a no, sir? >> yes. >> he started talking about how it was -- how it was murder, that these doctors were murdering babies. if they're going to murder the babies, well, we're going to murder them. if they kill, then they should be killed. it was hard to live with. nick went to school one morning. i went to work. i came home and scott was gone. money was gone. his clothes were gone. he was just gone. >> after leaving his family, roeder gets involved with an anti-government militia known as the montana free men. in 1996, he is arrested on the side of a kansas highway. >> he had sovereign citizen tags on his car so he was pulled over. he had a rifle in the car.
and the makings of a bomb. i believed he was going to blow up a clinic, an abortion clinic. i was very afraid of scott. right after that, i filed for divorce. >> he focused all the rage he had upon the abortion issue and he chose dr. tiller as his target. >> one day roeder approaches eddie, a fellow ex-member of the montana freemen with a proposition. >> he came over and pulled me aside and said, would you help me assassinate this doctor? i told him flat out, absolutely not. we don't go around snuffing out doctors, not at this time anyway. knowing scott, what he would do is sit and pray about the situation. and i could almost hear the prayer that he would say. it would be, lord, make me an
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ooichl veer veronica de la cruz. here is what's happening. a five-block area was evacuated and one firefighter was injured. in a televised speech yesterday, egyptian president said they will close tie with his syria. parade in honor of queen elizabeth ii's 82nd birthday. now back to "the assassination of dr. tiller." as the millennium turns in wichita, kansas, a growing sense of anxiety and paranoia surrounds dr. tiller and his clinic. and for very good reason. the anti-abortion group
operation rescue embarks on a relentless campaign to shutter dr. tiller's clinic for good. >> their approach was to wear him down and peck at him from every angle. from harassing him personally at his home to harassing the vendors or whoever else might be doing business with the clinic. >> we released a list of people we called collaborators, if there were any businesses that would have regular association with mr. tiller, we would list that. >> our plumber, electrician, people that hauled our trash. >> wichita is a pretty big town. there's three cab companies. two of them refused to bring patients from the airport to our clinic. >> fedex said they wouldn't deliver their packages to us anymore. would it be okay if we just dropped them off some other place? >> it wasn't fedex as a policy. it was our driver. and the driver has the right,
apparently, to say that they don't feel safe in a certain location. >> it's like we had become pariahs and no one wanted to deal with us. >> it isn't just the businesses in wichita, it is also his employees who are targeted. >> operation rescue had a website just dedicated to all of us and all of our pictures and names. and they knew more about us than we knew about ourselves. >> they started finding out where we all lived. >> so, our neighbors got these barrage of postcards. barrage of postcards. some of them quite graphic, outing us. did you know that your neighbor, shelly sela, is an abortionist? >> did you know your neighbor worked for dr. tiller? >> do you know cathy reavis is using blood money to pay for her
house? >> mostly it would just make me angry and certainly cemented my feelings about why i was working there. >> but no one is targeted as intensely or tenaciously as dr. tiller and his family. for them, real violence always looms. >> he purchased a bulletproof jeep and wore a bulletproof vest. >> he had the federal marshals living with him for something like 30 months, in his house. >> there's no way i can imagine what his family went through. that's impossible for me to comprehend that. i don't think they could ever wake up a day and feel secure and acknowledge that nothing was going to happen. >> in an effort to attract as much attention as possible to their campaign against dr. tiller, operation rescue soon set their sights beyond the wichita city limits. >> one of operation rescue's major goals was to make george tiller's name, or at least his abortion facility and what he
does, a household name. finally bill o'reilly began picking up the story and then, boy, he really lit into tiller. >> tiller has killed thousands, thousands of late-term fetuses without explanation. >> he compared him to nazis. he compared him to stalin. he vilified dr. tiller on national tv 28 times. >> tiller, the baby killer. >> tiller the baby killer, as some call him, will perform a late-term abortion for just about any reason. >> if you hear endlessly that someone is a killer, killer, killer, killer, he's certainly no longer a person, no longer a human being. >> that kind of behavior adds to the general attitude that it's okay to say hateful things about abortion providers. it's okay to act on that hate toward them. >> beginning in 2006, operation rescue also files a steady
stream of complaints about dr. tiller's practice. in june 2007 they have some success with this tactic. dr. tiller is charged with 19 misdemeanor counts connected to an alleged illegal relationship with a physician who had approved a number of late-term procedures. >> in kansas in order to do a post-viable abortion, you have to have a second kansas physician who evaluates the patient and agrees that the pregnancy represents a threat to her health. >> and that physician could not be legally or financially tied to dr. tiller. dr. tiller was accused of having a financial relationship with her. >> in 2009 he stands trial in a wichita courtroom. operation rescue is confident it is just a step away from accomplishing its mission, getting dr. tiller's medical license revoked. >> that's correct.
>> the legislature was closing in and tightening the laws. the kansas board of healing arts had filed indictments. i think it was clear that george tiller was very close to retirement. his abortion clinic was closing very soon. >> on march 27, 2009, the jury in the case of the state of kansas versus george tiller leaves the courtroom to deliberate. they quickly return with a verdict. >> we, the jury, unanimously find the defendant not guilty of illegal abortion as alleged in count one. >> and he was acquitted, as somebody said, in less time than it takes to eat a ham sandwich. the jury came right back and said, not guilty on all charges. >> it was a big load off of his shoulders. oh, yeah. >> i think for the anti-abortion people, it was a huge disappointment. >> we were so close to having tiller lose his license. i wanted to beat him.
>> scott roeder is not a member of operation rescue, but he attends the trial nearly every day. here he's seen sitting beside operation rescue president troy newman. when the trial concludes, roeder is devastated by the verdict. >> there's no question that tiller's acquittal of those 19 charges was a part of what pushed scott roeder towards the actions he took. no question. >> did you decide it was incumbent upon you to do something? >> there was nothing being done. and the legal process had been exhausted. and these babies were dying every day. so, i felt that i needed to act, and quickly, for those children. when we made our commitment to the gulf, bp had two big goals:
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on march 27, 2009, after a long battle against the state of kansas, dr. george tiller is found not guilty of all charges connected to his medical practice. >> not guilty of illegal abortion as alleged in count one. >> although a jury acquits him in less than an hour, the victory is short lived. he's immediately notified of another impending investigation. this time by the top medical authority in the state, the kansas board of healing arts, on the exact same charges. >> why? because one of the operation rescue people lodged a complaint on the same charges. he didn't even have time to enjoy the fact that he had finally won. and then another blow. it was just never going to end. >> although this is a positive development for operation rescue, it is of little consolation to scott roeder, who is utterly distraught by dr. tiller's acquittal. for roeder, the court's ruling
is the last straw. >> the legislature tried and they weren't successful. and the grand juries weren't successful. and he was acquitted by a jury. well, somebody had to stop him, and that somebody is going to be me. >> by this point in the spring of 2009, scott roeder is living apart from his ex-wife and teenage son. he shares an apartment with a roommate, works a series of menial jobs and spends most of his time studying scripture with others devoted to messianic ju e judai judaism, a form of eveng angeli christianity. >> there is a bible group he would go to, those individuals at that time would talk about a variety of things. but he also during those conversations had talked about
dr. tiller as someone that wants to take action and end tiller's life. at that time i think roeder began really formulating a plan to end the life of dr. tiller. >> and he finally started to recognize that the only point that he could find him where he would be unaware is at his church. scott roe dechder began to make trips down to wichita. he would go and attend services at the reformation lutheran church. >> we thought he was interested in joining our church. >> i couldn't help but notice he was never a part of the service. he was not worshipping in our church. it bothered me to the point that i followed him out, saw the car he got into and i wrote his license tag number at that point. >> he was not accepted by the congregation. did not fit in. but there was never any indication he was there to hurt dr. tiller. >> on sunday, may 24th, scott roeder travels the 200 miles from his home in kansas city to wichita.
he visits the reformation lutheran church once again. this time with full intent to kill dr. tiller. >> scott, were you armed that day? >> yes. >> what were you armed with? >> i believe it was a -- it was the taurus. >> 22 taurus? >> yes. >> but dr. tiller is not at church that day so scott roeder returns to kansas city. five days later, roeder calls his ex-wife with a request to spend the evening with his teenage son. having devoted himself to the laws of messianic judaism and the strict adherence to the friday sabbath, it's very out of character for roeder. >> picked up his son, took him to dinner. they spent some time together which, again, his son knew that that was very unusual. just the fact that it was friday. and on the sabbath, that shouldn't have happened. >> they went to dinner, they went to a movie. scott wanted to buy him ice cream. he wanted to go with him to visit with his friends. he didn't want the evening to
end. he wanted it to go on and on. one of the first things nick realized after he had heard about the shooting, after scott had been arrested was, wow, mom, he was saying good-bye to me. >> the next morning, saturday, may 30th, roeder visits his brother in topeka and then returns to wichita, checking into a motel by sunday. >> do you remember what you did that night? >> watched tv, ate dinner and went to bed. >> pretty calm evening? >> yeah. >> were you preparing yourself for the next morning? >> yes. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] for dad's first job as dad. nissan tests hundreds of child seats to give you a better fit and a safer trip. snug kids, only from nissan. ♪
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trash can on the far side of the parking lot, but basically made sure he was able to get out quickly. >> so roeder is armed with his weapon. then he sees dr. tiller come in, and then he sees dr. tiller leave by the side door. he got up, and he followed dr. tiller directly out the side door. >> you walk out the door and there is dr. tiller? >> yes. >> he was right in front of you? >> yes. >> and you took your gun, and you took it out -- had it out of your pocket. it was in your hand, is that right? >> yes. >> did it appear he was aware that you were there? >> i don't think he was aware. >> so you caught him unaware? >> i believe so. >> then you took that steel gun and you put it at his forehead. is that right? >> yes. >> and when it made contact with
his head, you pulled the trigger. >> yes. >> and do you feel that you have successfully completed your mission? >> he's been stopped. >> sedgewic k-911. >> somebody just came in and shot him in our church. >> somebody shot someone? >> yes, dr. tiller. dr. george tiller was just shot. >> that morning, dr. tiller's staff passes the tragic news to each other by phone. >> i called joanne first. of course, she was devastated. >> cathy said they shot doctor. i remember specifically cathy said "they." that's exactly how we thought of it, they. we knew exactly who they were. >> then i called dr. sella and i can still hear her screaming in my ears. oh, no. oh, no. you're kidding. you're kidding. >> i don't think i've ever experienced that kind of grief. it seemed so wrong.
so wrong that someone who was so incredible, so amazing could be killed. for what? >> during the murder investigation, authorities discover a piece of evidence in scott roeder's car that potentially connects him to operation rescue. when questioned, operation rescue president troy newman flatly denies any ties to roeder or the murder. >> one of our cards was found on the dash board of scott roeder's car. it was the contact number that was the information line. it was the number people called to find out when the prayer vigils were, what time court hearings started, when the rallies were. that phone rang nonstop it was published on the internet. we're not suspects in this case. >> nearly six months later on january 2, 2010, the jury delivers their verdict on scott roeder. it takes only 35 minutes to reach a decision. >> we, the jury, find the defendant, scott roeder, guilty
of the crime of first-degree murder. >> he is sentenced to 50 years without parole. >> scott, you regret what you did? >> no, i don't. >> do you know if dr. tiller's clinic is still open? >> i've been told it's been shut down. >> how do you feel about that? >> a sense of relief, actually. >> the family made the choice to close the clinic. >> there used to be three clinics in wichita. now there are none. so patients have to go to either kansas city, which is 200 miles away, or denver, which is about 500 miles away. >> what are these women going to do who are getting bad news this week? where are they going to go? what if they're scheduled to go see dr. tiller and now they can't go? i can't even imagine being in that situation. that's horrifying. >> if they don't get help from me, they're going to be sticking pencils into their cervix or
throwing their baby in a dumpster or discarding their baby in a plastic bag on the side of the road. we're doing a legal, desperately needed service. >> for those who worked and supported dr. tiller, a raw anger remains. though not toward the man who pulled the trigger. for them, much of their rage is focused on the anti-abortion forces in wichita, who targeted dr. tiller for so many years. >> the ones who don't carry guns definitely incite the ones who do have guns. >> they gather all these people up, they fill them with hate and then they stand back when the least imbalanced among them does something. they stand back and say they didn't have anything to do with it. >> we never advocated violence. no, you didn't. you advocated everything else. you put him up to hatred, contempt, and ridicule. and he gets killed. and you step back from it now and say, well, that really
wasn't our intent. well, what the hell was your intent? >> it's the furthest thing from the truth that we were in any way involved in george tiller's murder. we were shocked and horrified about it just like everybody else. >> wichita's chapter is closing in the history books. summer of mercy happened. all the abortion rules are gone. tiller's dead. we move on to the next battle. we move on to the next villain.
ten years, four wars. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me get it started tonight with this. the united states is now committed to an act of war against the government of syria. okay. let's get the tally up to date. we attacked and went to war with afghanistan in 2001. we attacked and went to war with iraq in 2003.