Canada

Charge dropped against suspect in shooting of Ontario abortion doctor

A U.S. man convicted of killing an abortion provider in New York will not face charges in the 1995 shooting of a doctor in Ancaster, Ont., the Ontario Provincial Police said Wednesday.

A U.S. man convicted of killing an abortion provider in New York will not face charges in the 1995 shooting of a doctor in Ancaster, Ont., the Ontario Provincial Police said Wednesday.

James Kopp had initially been charged with the attempted murder of Dr. Hugh Short, who was shot through a window in his home.

Through police, Short said he has no comment on the decision and asked the media to respect his privacy.

Police said the decision not to proceed with charges was made after consulting with the Hamilton Crown Attorney's office about evidence in the case, though no specific reason was given. 

Kopp is serving a sentence of 25 years to life, with no chance of parole, in the United States for the 1998 murder of Amherst, N.Y., abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian. Two appeals in the case have been denied.

After lying in wait in the woods behind Slepian's home, Kopp shot him with a high-powered rifle through a kitchen window.

He subsequently fled the country and eluded capture for more than two years before being arrested in France in March 2001. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2002 and convicted of second-degree murder in Slepian's death in May 2003.

Kopp remains "a person of interest" in at least three other shootings of abortion providers, including: Dr. Jack Fainman of Winnipeg and a Rochester, N.Y., doctor, both in 1997; as well as Dr. Garson Romalis of Vancouver in 1994.

After the shootings, police in Canada and the U.S. established a joint task force to investigate the cases.

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