Roundup: Roeder Bible Study Group Questioned, Tiller Clinic Still For Sale

Robin Marty

A federal grand jury has begun questioning Scott Roeder's Bible group about the murder of Dr. George Tiller. 

Was the murder of Dr. George Tiller part of a bigger plot, and were more people involved than just Scott Roeder?  These are questions that may be answered as a federal grand jury is being opened on the case.

Via the Associated Press:

A law enforcement official says a federal grand jury is investigating whether last year’s murder of a Kansas abortion doctor was connected to a broader case involving radical anti-abortion activists.

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The official says several federal civil rights prosecutors from Washington are holding grand jury proceedings in Kansas City and looking into whether a broader case surrounds Tiller’s shooting.

According to, acquaintances of Roeder have already been brought in for questioning, with special focus being paid to Roeder’s Bible study group.

Tim Parks, a friend and former roommate of Roeder, said he appeared last week before a grand jury in Kansas City.

“Based on the questions they asked, they are looking into whether others were involved,” Parks said. “It appeared to me that they are trying to find or fabricate a conspiracy.”

The Justice Department did not respond to a request for comment Friday, and an FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

Parks said he and six others appeared before the grand jury last week. All of them, he said, had been part of a Bible study group that Roeder attended, and several were former roommates of Roeder.

One other study group member confirmed he appeared, and the others could not be reached Friday.

The grand jury hearing apparently focused not on Roeder’s friends in the anti-abortion movement, but on the Bible study group.

The group met in one another’s homes on Saturdays for potluck dinners and Scripture study sessions. Those attending the study group described themselves as Messianic Jews who, unlike mainstream Jews, believe that Jesus was the Messiah.

Parks and another member Friday told The Kansas City Star that they were recently visited by FBI and Justice Department investigators, then received subpoenas for the grand jury.

Parks said the federal investigators asked him numerous questions about Roeder’s associates.

“They said something like, ‘Scott doesn’t seem like a lone gunman. He’s not a doer, he’s a follower.’ ”

Parks said he believed Roeder acted alone.

Another of Roeder’s former roommates, who lived with him at the time of Tiller’s murder, said he also appeared before the grand jury.

“They’re trying to see if there is any conspiracy and they’re interviewing everyone who had been to the Bible study,” said the man, who did not want his name revealed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tiller’s clinic is still on the market, and anti-choice advocates are discussing purchasing it, although others state it will never happen.  From the Topeka Capital Journal:

A “for sale” sign posted outside a medical clinic formerly operated by murdered abortion provider George Tiller prompted some abortion opponents Thursday to discuss trying to buy the facility.

David Gittrich, a leader with Kansans for Life, sent fellow members of the anti-abortion group an e-mail informing them of the sign. He suggested turning the site into a memorial for “the babies who lost their lives.”

Peter Brownlie, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said he knew Tiller’s family eventually would try to sell the property. He wasn’t surprised that anti-abortion groups would talk about trying to buy the clinic, though he doubted they would be successful.

County tax records available online list the clinic’s appraised value as $734,100.

“From our perspective, we lost the clinic, officially, a year ago,” Brownlie said. “In some ways, it’s the final chapter in a pretty awful situation.”

Mini Roundup: Randall Terry, formerly of Operation Rescue, has now gone so far overboard that not only are anti-choice activists running away from him, but they are putting out press releases to distance themselves.

October 9, 2010

October 8, 2010

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