The Trial of Scott Roeder: Day Three


Carolyn Marie Fugit is covering the trial of Scott Roeder on assignment for RH Reality CheckClick here to see her report from Day One and Two.

On the third day of Scott Roeder’s trial for the murder of
Dr. George Tiller testimony was heard from Wichita Police Department detectives and
officers, Sheriff’s deputies, FBI Special Agents, and clerks, all of whom talked about the days their paths crossed with Roeder.

 

The Sunday morning of May 31st 2009, Lt. Kenneth Landwehr, commander of
the homicide squad, received a call that there had been a shooting. After being
briefed and examining the crime scene, Landwehr worked with other law
enforcement agencies in Kansas and other states, issuing a BOLO, "Be on
the lookout." He talked with the District Attorney about possible other
targets and notified Nebraska. Other officers, including Jason Bartel, were checking
with every hotel in Wichita to see if Roeder had checked in. Saturday, he
checked into the Garden Inn near Kellogg and Rock, about three miles south of
the church. The week before, he had stayed at the Starlight Motel, about a mile
and a half west of the Garden Inn on Kellogg, the major highway through
Wichita.

Sandy Michael had the misfortune of checking Roeder out
of the hotel on Sunday, May 31. She remembered he seemed "happy-go-lucky" and
friendly as he checked out. He had paid with cash and used a coupon – readily available
throughout Wichita – reducing the rate for the night to just under $40. He
arrived the night before around 6:10 pm and left Sunday around 9:30 am, on his
way to the church.

In Johnson County, Kansas, approximately three hours
northeast of Wichita via the fastest highway route, Johnson County Deputy
Andrew Lento patrolled his area of the county. It is usually "very
quiet" Sunday mornings in the furthest south patrol of the county. That
morning around 10:40 am, he was informed of a BOLO for a car with Johnson County
plates. Lento let other officers north of him aware of his plan: at about 1 pm,
he would go as far south as he was permitted on I-35 and wait in the median; if
he saw the car, he would follow it north until they could back him up. They had
been informed the driver was armed, making this a high-risk traffic stop
needing at least 3 officers. A half hour later, he saw a light colored car
headed towards him, the shiny K-State Wildcat vanity plate visible nearly a
half mile away. He got behind the car and confirmed the plate number as the one
they were looking for. A few miles later, they pulled him over and took
him into custody
.

The car was sealed for evidence, and Roeder
taken to the county jail where Lento took several pictures of Roeder, dressed
in a denim shirt and black slacks. He noticed some blood spots on a shoe and
his slacks. On cross examination, Steve Osburn asked if the car made any
attempts to leave the highway once Lento’s car got behind him. Lento said he
did not and agreed with Osburn that Roeder complied and did not resist his
arrest.

After Roeder’s car arrived in Wichita, Crime Scene
Investigator Andrew Maul began his investigation. First thing he pointed out to
the jury were a few light brown splashes. He had been told that an usher – Keith
Martin – had thrown a cup of coffee at the car as it drove away.  In the
photographs, we can see some landed on the hood, on the roof, and on the
partially-opened window. He informs us the splatters he saw were consistent
with the throwing of a coffee cup. Inside the car, he found a white shirt with
brown spots on it, two ties, live rounds under a seat, a box of ammunition,
several papers from the driver’s side visor – bulletin from the church for May
24; a welcome pamphlet; another handout , this time with Rev. Lowell
Michelson’s name and phone number; another handout from the service on May 30
with a note written on it; card from the Garden Inn; and a check copy from a
checkbook made out to the Bullet Hole – car registration information in the
glove box, and an insurance card in the names of David and Karen Roeder. He
also found a "nasty-looking, serrated, sheath-type knife," he said,
under the front passenger seat and more bullets in the back. He showed us the
white shirt with coffee stains – Keith Martin’s doing all the way back in
Wichita.

In Kansas City, Missouri, FBI Special Agent Andrew Alvey
was asked to look for evidence in the house where Roeder lived. Earlier, the
address from Roeder’s driver’s license and car registration were searched only
to find no one had lived there in a while. Alvey went in and found a bedroom in
disarray. On the bed lay an open and empty suitcase, an empty gun box laying in
front of it. In the living room lay a calendar underneath a remote control. He
also found a receipt for ammo from the Bullet Hole and a church bulletin from
Reformation Lutheran for August 24, 2008.

We hear from three employees of Jayhawk Pawn and Jewelry
in Lawrence who helped Roeder purchase a small .22 caliber handgun and some
ammunition. One explained to him they only carried two brands of ammo for that
size gun – a low velocity and a high velocity. Since Roeder had said he wanted
the gun for target practice, it was recommended that he buy the low velocity as
it is not as loud. However, it had to be loaded from the top of the gun, not in
the magazine, one at a time. As he checked out Roeder, buying one of each kind,
Roeder chit chatted with another patron he had been talking to beforehand.
Later that day, Roeder and another man went to High Plains Gun Shop in Topeka.
Roeder said his gun was not working right. The gun, we hear, was dirty, dry,
and the handle was held on with electrical tape. It was not working properly,
he was told, because he was using the wrong ammunition. While the owner of the
shop fixed the gun, Roeder asked about proper ammo. He bought two different
kinds, some gun oil, and a bumper sticker. Roeder and the man he came in with
spent about half an hour in the store.

Monday morning, Highway Trooper Denton Murray received a
phone call from a man calling himself David Roeder. His daughter had received a
phone call from the media asking about Scott. David was concerned the gun used
to kill Dr. Tiller had his fingerprints on it. As it was explained to Murray,
Scott went to Topeka Saturday afternoon for some target practice at his
brother’s. The two went to High Plains Gun Shop when the gun would not shoot
properly. Murray and FBI Special Agent Michael Miller went out to David’s house
in a more rural part of Shawnee County. On June 1st and 2nd, Miller found
several shell casings and a few bullets on David’s property. They had been told
David owns two guns that Scott use to own – a 9 millimeter and an assault
rifle. He says while they were told the 9 millimeter gun had been used for
target practice in the past, they had not found any spent casings for it those
days, only for the 22. They did not identify what type of shells they found as
they "let the scientists back in the lab make that determination."

Today, we learned how Roeder was apprehended, what he had
in his car on May 31st, that he stayed overnight in Wichita both the night
before and the week before, that he had purchased a gun two weeks earlier, and
that just the day before, he had his gun fixed, bought the correct ammunition,
and made sure his gun worked before he found his way into a special Pentecostal
service at Reformation Lutheran Church. The day before he finally carried out
his plan to assassinate Dr. George Tiller.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.