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Kopp won't try to block confession

James C. Kopp, who confessed in court to killing an Amherst abortion provider in 1998, will not object to use of those statements in an upcoming federal trial.

Acting U.S. Attorney Kathleen M. Mehltretter said Thursday that Kopp asked U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara in a Feb. 7 letter to halt efforts to quash statements in which he acknowledged shooting Dr. Barnett Slepian. She said that followed two earlier requests by the defendant to allow use of the statements in court.

"We now have three letters from the defendant saying he does not want to go ahead with a motion to suppress," she said.

Kopp was convicted in Erie County Court of fatally shooting Slepian from the woods behind his Amherst home on Oct. 23, 1998, as Slepian sat down to dinner. He first detailed his actions in a 2002 confession to The Buffalo News, and admitted to the crime again during the sentencing phase of his 2003 trial.

"On October 23, Judge, in 1998 late at night I shot Dr. Slepian. Let me explain a little bit about why and how," Kopp said in a statement to Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico.

Kopp initially cooperated with efforts of his attorney, John F. Humann, to have the statements thrown out after Humann contended Kopp was represented at the time by an attorney with a conflict of interest. But Mehltretter said Kopp changed his mind again and asked that the statements be admitted to his federal trial for violating a law protecting abortion access.

Mehltretter said she expects Arcara to put Kopp's letter and request on the record in an upcoming court session.


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