A man convicted of fatally shooting a doctor who performed late-term abortions in 2009, sparking concerns nationwide, was given a more lenient sentence Wednesday, making him eligible for parole 25 years earlier, the Associated Press reported.
Scott Roeder was originally sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole during the first 50 years for killing Dr. George Tiller, but his sentence was one of several vacated by the Supreme Court in 2013 after justices determined that only juries, not judges, could increase punishments for convicts.
During a resentencing hearing Wednesday, the Sedgwick County District Attorney's office withdrew the 50-year request, making the 58-year-old convict eligible for parole in 25 years.
Despite the lighter sentence, Roeder, who has expressed no regret for the killing, said he was disappointed.
"I was glad, obviously, to hear the sentence reduced, but I was looking forward to being another voice for the unborn, so I was disappointed in that respect," he told the AP in a phone interview from jail.
Roeder was serving as an usher at Tiller's church in Wichita, Kansas, when he pulled out a gun and shot the doctor, allegedly threatening other ushers as he fled the scene.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennet told reporters after the hearing on Wednesday that his office made the decision to seek the lighter sentence after consulting with Tiller's family and factoring in Roeder's declining health.
He added that he opted to remove the 50-year provision "rather than putting the community and the victim's family and witnesses through another contested hearing."
"With this legal closure, the Dr. George Tiller family will continue to heal and thrive and live fully in our communities," the family said in a statement, according to the AP.