Tiller Slaying Suspect Known to Authorities for Anti-Government Views

Topeka (WIBW) - The man accused of killing Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller is a familiar name to Topeka-area law enforcement, not necessarily for his anti-abortion view, but for his anti-government activity.

An anti-government license tag gave authorities the ammunition they needed April 16th, 1996, to pull over then 38-year old Scott Roeder. In his trunk, they found blasting caps, batteries, a one-pound can of gunpowder and documents on how to make hand grenades and other explosives.

Authorities say they had reason to be suspicious. Then-Shawnee Co. Sheriff Dave Meneley said at the time that Roeder was on an FBI list of people trained by the anti-government group, the Freeman.

Roeder's father, John, who has since passed away, told 13 News at the time that his son had become increasingly hostile toward the government. His father said it was a big reason Scott Roeder's wife, Lindsay, divorced him.

Still, John Roeder said the explosives arrest surprised him. He said Lindsay told him she felt Scott Roeder was capable of something, but he didn't think it would explosives. John Roeder also said at the time he was grateful no one was hurt because of anything his son might have done.

At his 1996 sentencing, Scott Roeder tried to explain his views. He told Judge James Buchele he was working with the laws - the common sense laws, to which Buchele replied the laws Roeder deemed common sense. Buchele told Roeder that people must conform their conduct to the law, not what the law they choose for themselves. He told Roeder that if you don't like the law, you change it at the ballot box.

Roeder was convicted for criminal use of explosives, given a 16-month suspended sentence, and put on two years supervised probation. He was arrested two months later for violating probation by living with a militia member, then sent to prison in 1997 for not filing an income tax return, also in violation of his probation.

Roeder's conviction was later overturned and he was released, when the appeals court ruled the search of his vehicle was illegal.

Information from Shawnee Co. District Court records and the WIBW-TV archives.

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