Even though Scott Roeder is in prison for the brutal murder of Dr. George Tiller, it looks like the case may not quite be over yet. According to reports, a federal grand jury is investigating a possible broader conspiracy behind the murder. The source, who spoke only on a condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to publicly disclose the investigation said that federal civil rights prosecutors were holding grand jury proceedings in Kansas City, looking into whether a broader case surrounds Dr. Tiller’s death.
The investigation is built in part on Roeder’s own trial testimony where he testified that he discussed his planned attack with others. Prior to the trial Roeder was in contact with Operation Rescue’s senior policy advisor Cheryl Sullenger. Sullenger is no stranger to domestic terrorism. She tried to blow up a clinic 20 years ago.
Roeder also has strong ties to the militia movement, so any investigation would necessarily look into those ties as well. Two of Roeder’s former roommates have already testified before the grand jury as well. One of the roommates, Tim Parks, testified that the grand jury was asking him about a Bible study group that Roeder attended, making the other members of that group possible targets as well.
During the trial the U.S. government had sent a civil rights prosecutor down to watch the trial, so the grand jury is a likely outcome of those observations. While it may take a while it is well worth the time, particularly if the prosecutors can establish a link between people like Sullenger and militia members. The fact that the grand jury has been called and is taking testimony also shows that, finally, the federal government is treating crimes against reproductive health care providers as the acts of domestic terrorism that they are.
photo courtesy of mugs99 via Flickr