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VIA: CNN.com

A Kansas jury deliberated just 40 minutes before convicting an anti-abortion activist of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an abortion provider.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9.

Tiller’s family said the jury reached a “just” verdict.

“At this time we hope that George can be remembered for his legacy of service to women, the help he provided for those who needed it and the love and happiness he provided us as a husband, father and grandfather,” the family said in a written statement.

A day earlier, Roeder told jurors he had shot Tiller in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church as Sunday services began. Testifying as his only defense witness, he said he believed he had to kill Tiller to save lives. He said he had no regrets.

“There was nothing being done, and the legal process had been exhausted, and these babies were dying every day,” Roeder said. “I felt that if someone did not do something, he was going to continue.”

“His testimony was delivered very matter-of-factly, but its contents were chillingly horrific,” prosecutor Ann Swengel said in her closing argument. “He carried out a planned assassination, and there can be no other verdict in this case … other than guilty.”

Prosecutors initially fought to keep abortion out of the trial, claiming that Tiller’s death was a straightforward case of premeditated murder.

Eventually, the abortion issue took center stage as prosecutors portrayed Tiller as a target of Roeder’s anti-abortion agenda, and defense lawyers attempted to mitigate his culpability under the theory that he believed Tiller’s death was justified to save the lives of others.

Defense attorney Mark Rudy told jurors in his closing argument that Roeder “thought that the babies kept on dying” and he had to stop Tiller from “killing more babies.”

A Kansas jury deliberated just 40 minutes before convicting an anti-abortion activist of first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of an abortion provider.

The jury found Scott Roeder, 51, guilty of gunning down Dr. George Tiller, who operated a clinic in Wichita where late-term abortions were performed. Roeder, 51, faces life in prison when he is sentenced on March 9.

Tiller’s family said the jury reached a “just” verdict.

“At this time we hope that George can be remembered for his legacy of service to women, the help he provided for those who needed it and the love and happiness he provided us as a husband, father and grandfather,” the family said in a written statement.

A day earlier, Roeder told jurors he had shot Tiller in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church as Sunday services began. Testifying as his only defense witness, he said he believed he had to kill Tiller to save lives. He said he had no regrets.

“There was nothing being done, and the legal process had been exhausted, and these babies were dying every day,” Roeder said. “I felt that if someone did not do something, he was going to continue.”

“His testimony was delivered very matter-of-factly, but its contents were chillingly horrific,” prosecutor Ann Swengel said in her closing argument. “He carried out a planned assassination, and there can be no other verdict in this case … other than guilty.”

Prosecutors initially fought to keep abortion out of the trial, claiming that Tiller’s death was a straightforward case of premeditated murder.

Eventually, the abortion issue took center stage as prosecutors portrayed Tiller as a target of Roeder’s anti-abortion agenda, and defense lawyers attempted to mitigate his culpability under the theory that he believed Tiller’s death was justified to save the lives of others.

Defense attorney Mark Rudy told jurors in his closing argument that Roeder “thought that the babies kept on dying” and he had to stop Tiller from “killing more babies.”

Read more here.