COPY-Opening statements set in abortion slaying trial

Associated Press - January 22, 2010 4:14 AM ET

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Opening statements are set to begin in the trial of the man who has publicly confessed to killing a Kansas doctor who specialized in late-term abortions.

Lawyers are expected to begin making their cases to jurors on Friday, which is also the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion.

Scott Roeder of Kansas City, Mo. faces a charge of premeditated, first-degree murder for the May 31 shooting of George Tiller as the doctor was serving as an usher at his church.

District Judge Warren Wilbert has said the trial will not turn into a debate over abortion and that he plans to keep it a first-degree murder trial.

A jury was seated Thursday after being questioned mostly behind closed doors.

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