Manslaughter defense possible in abortion killing

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WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas judge has ruled that a man accused of killing one of the nation’s few late-term abortion providers can present evidence that he thought the slaying was necessary to save unborn babies.

The ruling Friday allows defense attorneys for Scott Roeder to try to argue for a voluntary manslaughter conviction. Voluntary manslaughter is defined in Kansas law as “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

The 51-year-old Kansas City, Mo., man is charged with one count of first-degree murder in the May 31 death of Dr. George Tiller.

Roeder faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder. A manslaughter conviction could bring a prison term closer to five years.

The trial starts Monday.