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Jurors hear closing arguments in trial of man accused in slaying of abortion provider

Jurors hear closing arguments in trial of man accused in slaying of abortion provider

An anti-abortion extremist made a last attempt to convince jurors he did not mean to kill a doctor he shot, while a prosecutor countered there are "no do-overs" when shooting someone.
The two sides presented their closing arguments Wednesday in James Kopp's trial on charges he violated the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act by killing Dr. Barnett Slepian with a single shot from a Russian military rifle in 1998. He could face life in prison without parole if convicted.
Kopp, known as "Atomic Dog" among his peers, is already serving a 25-years-to-life sentence for a state conviction on second-degree murder in the doctor's death.
Representing himself during his federal trial, he acknowledged firing the shot that killed Slepian at the doctor's house but said his goal was to disable the doctor and prevent him from performing abortions the following day.
"If it happened the way I wanted it to, he would have his arm in a sling," said Kopp, 52, who is also suspected in the nonfatal shootings of three Canadian doctors and one in Rochester.
"There are no do-overs, no take-backs when you take an assault rifle and pull the trigger," Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen said.
Though U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara had instructed Kopp not to discuss abortion during the trial, Kopp at least twice began describing the procedure in detail during his closing statement and was stopped each time by the prosecution and judge.
"Abortion is murder. I tried to stop it," he said.
Lynne Slepian and two of the couple's four children, then ages 7 to 15, were in the kitchen with Slepian when the bullet pierced his body and ricocheted off a cabinet and wall before coming to rest in an adjoining room.
After the Oct. 23, 1998, shooting, Kopp fled to Mexico, Ireland and finally France, where he was captured in March 2001. He was added to the FBI's list of the Ten Most Wanted fugitives in June 1999.
Jurors deliberated about an hour Wednesday and were scheduled to resume Thursday.