Arrest of murder suspect
The mug shot of Scott Roeder, jailed from July 11, 1997 to March 26, 1998 for violating parole on a 1996 conviction for having bomb components in his car trunk.
Scott Philip Roeder, 51, of Merriam, Kansas, was arrested in Gardner, Kansas, some 170 miles away in suburban Kansas City three hours after the shooting. He was charged on June 2, 2009, with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Roeder was formally charged before a Sedgwick County district judge on June 2. He said very little during the hearing, where he asked for a public defender and did not enter a plea.
Prosecutors said the killing did not meet Kansas's standards for capital murder, which would have carried a possible death penalty. Prior to the shooting, Roeder was not among the people monitored as potential threats by some abortion rights groups, including the state chapter of the National Organization for Women. However, it has been reported that neither the FBI nor local police arrested him in the days leading up to the murder despite reports and evidence offered to both that he vandalized a women's clinic the week before and the day before.
In a telephone call from prison, Roeder confessed to the press that he had shot and killed Tiller, and declared that he felt no remorse.
Known employment and psychiatric histories
In the six months before Roeder's arrest, he said he had worked for an airport shuttle service, a party-rental shop, a convenience store and a property management enterprise.
After his arrest, Roeder's ex-wife, Lindsey Roeder, claimed that Roeder had been suffering from mental illness and that about the age of 20 he was diagnosed with possible schizophrenia, but she offered her own diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Roeder claimed to be the father of a young child and asked for time for visitation but the mother of that child did not wish such visitation. The 2005 Pennsylvania family court which ruled on Roeder's custody petition regarding a daughter born in 2002 took formal notice that Roeder had been diagnosed with possible schizophrenia and was not on medication.
The Associated Press quoted Roeder's brother, David, who said that Scott had suffered from mental illness from time to time:
“ However, none of us ever saw Scott as a person capable of or willing to take another person’s life. Our deepest regrets, prayers and sympathy go out to the Tiller family during this terrible time. ”
Scott Roeder had been a member of the anti-government Montana Freemen group. He was stopped in Topeka, Kansas, in April 1996 while displaying a placard reading "Sovereign Citizen" in lieu of a license plate. He had no driver's license, vehicle registration or proof of insurance. Police officers searching his car discovered explosives charges, a fuse cord, a pound of gunpowder and nine-volt batteries in the trunk. He was charged, represented by a public defender, convicted in June of all four counts and sentenced to 24 months probation. In July 1997 his probation was revoked for failure to pay taxes and provide his social security number to his employer as well as other probation violations. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison to be followed by 24 months parole supervision. He filed notice of appeal and was represented by a state-funded appellate attorney who challenged the basis of the original search that found the bomb components. The Kansas Court of Appeals overturned this conviction in March 1998, ruling that the search of Roeder's car had been illegal and remanded the case to the trial court. Roeder was released after serving only eight months.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Roeder belonged to an a group called the Sovereign Citizen Movement, which believes that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate. The ADL's National Director Abraham Foxman stated that "Roeder's attachment to extreme causes extended beyond anti-abortion extremism. His extremism cross-pollinated between anti-government extremism and anti-abortion activism and led to violence and murder." 
After being charged with murder, a delusional Roeder frequently called an Associated Press reporter from the county jail. He complained about his having been characterized in other media as having been anti-government. Roeder told the reporter, "I want people to stop and think: It is not anti-government, it is anti-corrupt-government."
Lindsey Roeder statements
Lindsey and Scott Roeder were married in 1986, and were together for 10 years. Immediately after his 2009 arrest, she stated that the explosives which led to his 1996 arrest had been intended for detonation at an abortion clinic.
On June 2, 2009, Lindsey Roeder gave an interview to Anderson Cooper of CNN about when and why her husband became radicalized:
“ It was about 1991-92 when he basically couldn't cope with everyday life. He couldn't make ends meet, he couldn't pay the bills and didn't know why he couldn't do that. And someone told him that if he didn't pay his federal taxes, if those taxes were left in his check, he could make ends meet. And then he started investigating that and someone told him that it wasn't ratified properly in the Constitution, that it was illegal. And he went from there and got into the anti-government, got into the militia, got into the Freeman, and along those lines anti-abortion issues came up and he started becoming very religious in the sense that he finally — he was reading the Bible. But then, after we were divorced, his religion took on a whole new right wing of itself. ”
David Leach, publisher of Prayer & Action News, a magazine that opines that the killing of abortion providers would be justifiable homicide, told reporters that he and Roeder had met once in the late 1990s and that Roeder at that time had authored contributions to Leach's publication. Leach published the Army of God manual, which advocates the killing of the providers of abortion and contains bomb-making instructions, in the January 1996 issue of his magazine. A Kansas acquaintance of Roeder's, Regina Dinwiddie, told a reporter after Tiller's murder (speaking of Roeder), "I know that he believed in justifiable homicide." Dinwiddie, an anti-abortion militant featured in the 2000 HBO documentary Soldiers in the Army of God, added that she had observed Roeder in 1996 enter Kansas City Planned Parenthood's abortion clinic and ask to talk to the physician there; after staring at him for nearly a minute, Roeder said, "I’ve seen you now," before turning and walking away.
Roeder's former roommate of two years, Eddie Ebecher, who had met Roeder through the Freemen movement in the 1990s, told a reporter after Tiller's murder that he and Roeder had considered themselves members of the Army of God. Ebecher said Roeder was obsessed with Tiller and discussed killing him, but that Ebecher warned him not to do so. Ebecher, who went by the nom de guerre "Wolfgang Anacon," added that he believed Roeder held "high moral convictions in order to carry out this act. I feel that Scott had a burden for all the children being murdered."
In 2007, someone who identified himself as Scott Roeder posted on the website of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue that, "Tiller is the concentration camp 'Mengele' of our day and needs to be stopped before he and those who protect him bring judgment upon our nation." This was reported by the ADL's Center on Extremism, noting that Roeder called for "the closing of his death camp." After Tiller's murder, officials from Operation Rescue, which had long opposed Tiller's abortion practices but denounced his shooting, said Roeder was not a contributor or member of the group. The phone number for Operation Rescue's senior policy advisor, Cheryl Sullenger, was found on the dashboard of Scott Roeder's car. At first, Operation Rescue's senior policy advisor Cheryl Sullenger denied any contact with Roeder, saying that her phone number is freely available online. Then, she revised her statements, indicating that Roeder’s interest was in court hearings involving Tiller.
“ He would call and say, 'When does court start? When’s the next hearing?' I was polite enough to give him the information. I had no reason not to. Who knew? Who knew, you know what I mean? ”
Roeder reportedly attended the 2009 trial in which Tiller was acquitted of violating state abortion laws; Roeder called the trial "a sham" and felt the justice system failed in letting Tiller go free. On May 30, one day before Tiller was killed, a worker at a Kansas City clinic told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Roeder had tried gluing the locks of the clinic shut, something Roeder was suspected of doing there before years earlier. The Kansas City Star reported that a man of Roeder's description had glued the locks shut at the Central Family Medicine clinic in Kansas City on May 23 and May 30.