RealNews

Man Who Killed Abortion Provider Asks for Trial by Judge

In a surprise turnaround, the abortion opponent James C. Kopp yesterday waived his right to a jury trial for killing a Buffalo-area doctor and instead received permission to be tried by a judge in a highly unusual — and potentially risky — bench proceeding that could resolve his murder case in as little as a day. The request by Mr. Kopp, who has admitted that he shot and killed Dr. Barnett A. Slepian with an assault rifle in 1998, drew a warning from the judge and prompted one of the three lawyers defending Mr. Kopp to withdraw from the internationally noted case, in which jury selection began last week. The judge and several legal experts said Mr. Kopp was giving up the most logical defense tactic, which would have allowed his lawyers to appeal to the emotions and religious principles of a jury. Full Story

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