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George Tiller Slain

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Suspect in Tiller shooting had struggled financially for years

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BY DION LEFLER

The Wichita Eagle

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- Court records show that Scott P. Roeder, the man accused of murdering George Tiller, had struggled financially for years with an eviction, unpaid credit card debt and a series of low-paying jobs.

In a financial affidavit filed in Sedgwick County District Court, about the only asset Roeder listed was a 1993 blue Ford Taurus.

Police say that was the getaway car used after Tiller, a prominent abortion doctor, was shot to death in the vestibule of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita on Sunday morning.

Roeder didn't give a value for the car in his affidavit, instead writing in the form's margin, "Would I have to do Kelly Blue Book?" referring to a widely used car-pricing guide.

Other court records show that Roeder's financial problems date back at least as far as 2005, when he filed a handwritten pauper's petition in Johnson County District Court identifying himself as "a merchant at law without recourse to lawful money."

"I receive no government assistance of any type including food stamps," the document said.

In the 1990s, Roeder was affiliated with the "Freeman" movement, a group whose ideology held that the federal government and its currency are invalid. He was incarcerated in 1996 after bomb components were found in his car, but that conviction was overturned on appeal because police improperly impounded the vehicle.

In the Sedgwick County affidavit filed Tuesday, Roeder certified that he had access to only $10 in cash or bank accounts.

At the time of his arrest, he had an $1,100-a-month job with Quicksilver Airport Delivery, a Kansas City airport shuttle service, the form said.

A Quicksilver official confirmed Wednesday that Roeder was employed there but declined further comment.

Roeder listed three other jobs in the past six months: at a party-rental shop, a convenience store and a property management company.

As recently as April, Roeder was hit with a Johnson County court order to garnish his bank account to pay back overdue credit card charges.

Roeder did not show up in court to dispute the garnishment order filed by Midland Funding, a debt-collection company, court records show.

Midland claimed that Roeder owed $692.14, plus interest, in unpaid debt on an Aspire Visa. The card, no longer available, was marketed to people with poor credit histories who paid a $150 annual fee.

In Roeder's case, the judge granted a summary judgment to Midland in February because of Roeder's failure to appear in court, the records show.

However, when the company sought to collect the money from Roeder's account at Community America Credit Union in April, the credit union reported that the account had been closed.

The Midland case was not the first time Roeder lost a lawsuit for failing to appear in court.

In 2005, a Johnson County judge granted summary judgment to Countrywide Home Loans when Roeder didn't show up for proceedings in a suit he filed seeking to avoid eviction from a home in Overland Park.

Roeder, a tenant in the home, had sued Countrywide and the state of Kansas, alleging the eviction was unlawful and that he and another tenant had not been provided adequate notice.

"I and my possessions have rights to posess (sic) and occupy the property," the handwritten petition said. "Plaintiff seeks ruling from the court on whether a judge in the District Court can order a tenant out of a property and give him no direct notice with his name on the notice."

Roeder also sought legal fees of $1,500 -- at $150 an hour -- for the time he spent preparing his lawsuit.

The judge dismissed the case, ruling that it was frivolous and moot, as Roeder had already been evicted.

He also denied Roeder's request to be treated as a legal pauper and ordered Roeder to pay $110 in court fees.

Reach Dion Lefler at 316-268-6527.

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