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Koop Back in U.S. to Face Charges

June 5, 2002

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ James Kopp, the suspect in the 1998 slaying of a New York doctor who performed abortions, was returned Wednesday to the United States from France.

Kopp was expected to be arraigned in federal court later in the day.

Kopp landed in an FBI plane and was guarded by U.S. Marshals, FBI agents and local police officers. The plane landed at a National Guard base at Niagara Falls, about 20 miles north of Buffalo. Officials at the base confirmed the plane was carrying Kopp.

``(Security is) tight from the standpoint that there are plenty of people to make sure he doesn’t escape ... and for his own well-being,″ said Peter Ahearn, special agent in charge of Buffalo FBI office.

Tuesday was the first day U.S. authorities were able to take custody of Kopp after he dropped his fight against extradition from France, where he was captured in March 2001 following a 2 1/2-year international manhunt. He has been in prison in Rennes, in northern France.

Last June, a French court recommended that Kopp be extradited after receiving assurances that the U.S. government would not seek the death penalty.

In a statement last week, Kopp, 47, said he was eager to prove his innocence. He is accused of killing Buffalo-area obstetrician Dr. Barnett Slepian with a single rifle shot fired through the doctor’s kitchen window on Oct. 23, 1998.

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