News Violence

Jury Selection Begins in Trial Against Man Who Allegedly Planned to Kill Abortion Provider

Robin Marty

Ralph Lang's lawyer, Eric Schulenberg, reportedly plans to ask what "constituted an actual attempt to kill someone." During jury selection, Schulenberg drew an apparent parallel between the clinic plot and attempts to hunt wildlife.

It has been two years since he was arrested, and nearly a full year since he was found competent to stand trial. Now, Wisconsin anti-choice extremist Ralph Lang will stand trial for first-degree intentional homicide for allegedly plotting to kill a doctor at a Madison Planned Parenthood clinic. The jury was selected this week, and Lang’s defense lawyer, Eric Schulenberg, set the stage for trying to keep his client out of jail. Schulenberg’s defense strategy will center around the question “What does it mean to ‘attempt’ to kill someone?”

Lang was arrested in May 2011 after his gun went off in a Madison hotel room, shooting a door. When police arrived, Lang told them he was staying there so he could go to the nearby Planned Parenthood clinic and “lay out abortionists because they are killing babies.”

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Lang’s lawyer will ask “whether Lang’s actions constituted an actual attempt to kill someone.” While questioning potential jurors, the Journal says Schulenberg asked “some who hunt and fish what they believe the moment to be when they ‘attempted’ to kill a deer or catch a fish.”

There’s no mention in the article of whether anyone in the jury pool reacted to the idea of comparing a plan to murder at least one person to a recreational hobby or sport, or the implied connection between someone who provides abortions and an animal.

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Lang is also facing federal charges for “interfering with recipients of a federally funded program,” but that case will not be heard until August.

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