Kopp now wanted for five abortionist shootings

More questions than answers have been raised by the second-degree murder charge laid against James Kopp on May 7 in connection with the shooting death of Buffalo-area abortionist Barnett Slepian.

Up until the charge was laid, police had been saying that Kopp, who has not been seen since last Nov. 3, was not a suspect in the Slepian shooting – nor in the shootings of four other abortionists since 1994. In addition, friends and relatives had been saying for months that Kopp was a pacifist with such poor eyesight – he couldn’t even read street signs – that he could not have had the ability to fire a gun with the accuracy required to hit any of the abortionists.

Some are also questioning how a rifle recently found buried near Slepian’s home – and a key piece of evidence in the case against Kopp – got there, and why it took police so long to find it, despite extensive searches of the area at the time of the shooting last fall.

Nonetheless, U.S. Attorney Denise O’Donnell said evidence clearly points to Kopp in the Slepian incident. Bernard Tolbert, head of the FBI’s Buffalo office, said the FBI conducted extensive tests on the rifle and cited it as “a critical and key piece of information.” A hair supposedly found near Slepian’s home was subjected to DNA testing and was also linked to Kopp.

Investigators previously said they were having trouble linking the Slepian case to the attacks against the four other abortionists. Apparently, they have been unable to make positive matches between the weapons used in the various incidents.

Canadian police have changed their tune and now say Kopp is considered the main suspect in the woundings of three Canadian abortionists.

Canadian pro-abortion elements pounced on the developments to suggest that those opposed to abortion are becoming increasingly violent.

Kopp hasn’t been seen since police announced they wanted him for questioning regarding the Slepian case. Activists throughout Canada’s pro-life movement say he is unknown to them.

The murder charge must come as a shock to Kopp’s friends and relatives. Christopher Bell of Hoboken, N.J., who testified before a grand jury investigating Slepian’s death, said before the latest developments that he is convinced police are looking for the wrong man. “What I heard in the grand jury leads me to believe that they have no concrete leads, no solid information … they’re just casting about for information,” he said.

Bell added that Kopp “is committed to the pro-life cause, but he is a prayerful and peaceful man, not a violent man.” He also charged that FBI agents have been bullying anyone who ever knew Kopp. The Buffalo Newsreported that dozens of other people have been questioned by authorities.

Meanwhile, a 54-year-old Hamilton father of two who has been charged in connection with a series of bizarre, threatening mailings directed against abortionists, has no connections to any known pro-life group in this country.

Ronald Wylie was arrested in Hamilton March 10, and charged with five counts of threatening death and one count of intimidation. At last report, he was still being held in custody pending a bail hearing. The Crown indicated that it would oppose his release into the community.

In interviews with police and the Hamilton Spectator newspaper, Wylie more or less admitted he was behind nine missives sent since December 1997 to the Spectator, as well as one to a Vancouver hospital, and one taped to the door of a Hamilton restaurant shortly after it was bombed in an unrelated incident.

“I just decided to send the packages as a form of psychological warfare,” Wylie told the Spectator. Hamilton police characterized the mailer as the area’s “number one public nuisance.”

Spokespersons at both Hamilton Right to Life and Campaign Life Coalition told The Interim that Wylie was unknown to them, and it was unknown to what extent – if any – he was active in pro-life activities in this country.