This dangerous religious fanatic will be eligible for parole when he is 102. Chalk one up for one less religious fanatic in the land.
IN CASE YOU FORGOT..........
Life Term for Killer of Buffalo-Area Abortion Provider
By DAVID STABA
Published: June 20, 2007
BUFFALO, N.Y., June 19 — An avowed opponent of abortion rights already in prison for murdering an obstetrician in 1998 was sentenced again on Tuesday, this time in federal court, to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Prosecutors sought consecutive life sentences for the defendant, James C. Kopp, who in January was found guilty of violating federal law by preventing access to an abortion clinic and for using a firearm to kill an obstetrician near here, Dr. Barnett Slepian.
Judge Richard Arcara of Federal District Court sentenced Mr. Kopp, who fled to Mexico, then Ireland and France before his capture in 2001, to life in prison for violating the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, but said that sentencing guidelines called for the 10-year term on the weapons charge and that he did not see a compelling reason to deviate from them. Mr. Kopp, 52, was already serving 25 years to life for his 2003 conviction on a state charge of second-degree murder in the death of Dr. Slepian.
Mr. Kopp admitted stalking Dr. Slepian for weeks before waiting in a wooded area behind the obstetrician’s suburban home, then shooting him with a high-powered rifle as he stood in his kitchen, surrounded by his family, on the evening of Oct. 23, 1998.
As he had during his trial in January, Mr. Kopp said he had not meant to kill Dr. Slepian, but only to wound him to prevent him from performing abortions.
Judge Arcara said: “You served as judge, jury and executioner. You acted under the guise of moral superiority and killed Dr. Slepian, a father of four who was engaged in a legal medical activity.”
Besides enforcing the federal law, United States Attorney Terrance P. Flynn said that the government prosecuted the case, despite the earlier murder conviction, to ensure that Mr. Kopp was never released from prison.
“We wanted to prevent any possibility of parole, as well as any parole hearings, which Dr. Slepian’s children and wife were going to have to attend,” Mr. Flynn said.
Before the judge passed sentence, the widow of the slain doctor, Lynne Slepian, asked him to impose the maximum sentence on behalf of her four sons, who ranged in age from 15 to 7 when their father was killed.
“He not only took away my husband and life partner, but also took away a kind and nurturing father to our four young children,” Mrs. Slepian said. “This was the man I was supposed to grow old with.”
During his federal trial in January, when he served as his own attorney, Mr. Kopp’s efforts to discuss his views on abortion were blocked by Judge Arcara, who limited testimony to the shooting. On Tuesday, he allowed Mr. Kopp to speak without restrictions.
Mr. Kopp delivered a disjointed, one-hour statement that quoted Gandhi and Mother Teresa, while invoking SS. Thomas Aquinas and Francis of Assisi, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Laci Peterson, the Nuremburg war-crimes trials, the International Monetary Fund and the video game “Grand Theft Auto.”
“A tragic, horrible ricochet — that’s how he died,” Mr. Kopp said. “People get shot in the arm all day long and they don’t die.”
Mr. Kopp is also suspected in the shooting of at least four other doctors in New York and Canada, all of whom survived. Mr. Flynn said Canada had not requested Mr. Kopp’s extradition.
Mr. Kopp has admitted using a high-powered, Russian-made assault rifle that he purchased using false identification in a Tennessee gun shop.
“Any reasonable person should have been aware that the action would result in Dr. Slepian’s death,” the judge said. “You can’t shoot into a crowd of people and say, ‘I don’t want to kill anybody,’ and then if someone is killed, say, ‘I’m sorry.’ That’s murder.”