Special Reports

Roeder says he's 'being treated as a criminal'

The man charged in the slaying of abortion provider George Tiller says he's "being treated as a criminal" even though he hasn't been convicted of anything.

Scott Roeder called the Associated Press on Thursday from the Sedgwick County Jail and disputed what he called "broad brush" characterizations of him as anti-government.

"I want people to stop and think: It is not anti-government, it is anti-corrupt government," Roeder said.

When asked to discuss the Tiller shooting, Roeder, 51, of Kansas City, Mo., refused to comment, saying he would talk about that later.

Roeder is charged with first-degree murder in connection with Tiller's death. Tiller was shot as he handed out programs Sunday while ushering at Reformation Lutheran Church near 13th and Rock Road.

Roeder also is charged with two counts of aggravated assault related to two men who had a gun pointed at them after Tiller was killed.

Roeder was arrested a few hours later near Gardner, about 170 miles northeast of Wichita.

"I haven't been convicted of anything and I am being treated as a criminal," he said in a conversation that lasted about three minutes.

Family members said this week that Roeder has held extremist anti-government views, including refusing to pay taxes. In the mid-1990s, he joined the Freemen movement, an anti-government group.

Roeder said he is concerned about the media attention that his family, particularly his elderly mother, has been getting.

"I appreciate your prayers," he said.

Dan Monnat, the attorney for the Tiller family, declined to comment on Roeder's statements.

Roeder's preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 16, although it will likely be continued.