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Anti-Abortion Extremist James Kopp Testifies at his Trial

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-560913.mp3

Buffalo, NY – Anti-abortion extremist James Kopp took the witness stand in his own defense during his federal trial Monday.

Kopp is accused of the 1998 shooting death of Dr. Barnett Slepian in Amherst. Kopp, who is representing himself in the case, decided to asked and answer his own questions.

Kopp admitted that he modified a Russian-style assault rifle, and fired the shot into Slepian's home. But he said he only intended to shot the doctor in the arm to stop him from performing abortions.

Kopp told the jury it was an accident. Many of his questions that centered around abortion were rejected by Judge Richard Arcara. Still Kopp managed to get a great deal of information in front of jurors about his anti-abortion beliefs.

Kopp said he participated in more than 100 rescues outside abortion clinics, all to save the lives of the unborn.

But the Judge did stopped Kopp with a round of questions about the heartbeat, fingerprints and brainwaves of a fetus.

Before testifying, Kopp called three character witnesses, all from the pro-life movement. All three testified that they believe it was justifiable to kill an abortion provider.

Both sides have rested their cases. The trial resumes Wednesday with closing arguments.

Click the "listen" icon above to hear Eileen Buckley's story now or use your podcasting software to download it to your computer or iPod.