Philly Abortion Doctor Guilty in 3 Babies' Deaths - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Philly Abortion Doctor Guilty in 3 Babies' Deaths

Posted:
Dr. Kermit Gosnell during an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News at his attorney's office in Philadelphia, March 8, 2010. (Photo: AP) Dr. Kermit Gosnell during an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News at his attorney's office in Philadelphia, March 8, 2010. (Photo: AP)

PHILADELPHIA (AP)— A Philadelphia abortion doctor was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder and could face execution in the deaths of three babies who authorities say were delivered alive and then killed with scissors at his grimy clinic, in a case that became a flashpoint in the nation's debate over abortion.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the drug-overdose death of a patient who had undergone an abortion. He was cleared in the death of a fourth baby, who prosecutors say let out a soft whimper before he snipped its neck.

Gosnell appeared hopeful before the verdict was read and calm afterward; jurors and lawyers on both sides were more emotional.

The jury will return May 21 to hear evidence on whether Gosnell should get the death penalty.

Former clinic employees testified that Gosnell routinely performed illegal late-term abortions past Pennsylvania's 24-week limit, that he delivered babies who were still moving, whimpering or breathing, and that he and his assistants "snipped" the newborns' spines, as he referred to it.

"Are you human?" prosecutor Ed Cameron snarled during closing arguments as Gosnell sat calmly at the defense table. "To med these women up and stick knives in the backs of babies?"

The grisly details came out more than two years ago during an investigation of prescription drug trafficking at Gosnell's clinic in an impoverished section of West Philadelphia.

Authorities said the clinic was a foul-smelling "house of horrors" with bags and bottles of stored fetuses, including jars of severed feet, along with bloodstained furniture, dirty medical instruments, and cats roaming the premises.

Pennsylvania authorities had failed to conduct routine inspections of all of its abortion clinics for 15 years by the time Gosnell's facility was raided and closed down. In the scandal's aftermath, two top state health department officials were fired, and Pennsylvania imposed tougher rules for clinics.

"We see this as triumph of justice," said Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life, a group that has taken a lead role in efforts to enact anti-abortion laws in state legislatures.

Four former clinic employees have pleaded guilty to murder and four more to other charges. They include Gosnell's wife, Pearl, a cosmetologist who helped perform abortions.

Both sides of the abortion divide seized on the case. Abortion foes said it exposed the true nature of abortion in all its disturbing detail. Abortion rights activists warned that Gosnell's rogue practice foreshadows what poor and desperate young women could face if abortion is driven underground with more restrictive laws.

Midway through the six-week trial, anti-abortion activists accused the mainstream media of ignoring the case because it reflected badly on the abortion rights cause. Major news organizations denied the allegation, though a number promptly sent reporters to cover the trial.

After prosecutors rested their case, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart threw out for lack of evidence three of seven murder counts involving aborted fetuses. That left the jury to weigh charges involving fetuses identified as Baby A, Baby C, Baby D and Baby E.

Prosecution experts said one was nearly 30 weeks along when it was aborted, and it was so big that Gosnell allegedly joked it could "walk to the bus." A second fetus was said to be alive for some 20 minutes before a clinic worker snipped its neck. A third was born in a toilet and was moving before another clinic employee grabbed it and severed its spinal cord, according to testimony.

Baby E let out a soft whimper before Gosnell cut its neck, prosecutors alleged. Gosnell was acquitted in that baby's death, the only one of the four in which no eyewitness account was given during the trial.

Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, argued that none of the fetuses was born alive and that any movements were posthumous twitching or spasms.

He also contended that the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, Va., a Bhutanese immigrant who had been given repeated doses of Demerol and other powerful drugs to sedate her and induce labor, was caused by unforeseen complications.

Gosnell was also convicted of infanticide, racketeering and more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania's abortion laws by performing third-term abortions or failing to counsel women 24 hours in advance.

Gosnell did not testify, and his lawyer called no witnesses in his defense. But McMahon argued that the doctor provided desperate young woman with "a solution to their problems," and he branded prosecutors "elitist" and "racist" for pursuing his client, who is black and whose patients were mostly poor minorities.

"We know why he was targeted," McMahon said.

Prosecutors described Gosnell's employees as nearly as desperate as the patients. Some had little or no medical training, and at least one was a teenager still in high school. One woman needed the work to support her children after her husband's murder.

Stephen Massof, an unlicensed medical school graduate who could not find a residency, told jurors that Gosnell taught him how to snip babies' spines, something he then did at least 100 times at the clinic.

"I felt like a fireman in hell," Massof testified. "I couldn't put out all the fires."

Gosnell still faces federal drug charges. Authorities said that he ranked third in the state for OxyContin prescriptions and that he left blank prescription pads at his office and let staff members make them out to cash-paying patients.

He performed thousands of abortions over a 30-year career. Authorities said the medical practice alone netted him about $1.8 million a year, much of it in cash. Authorities found $250,000 hidden in a bedroom when they searched his house. Gosnell also owned a beach home and several rental properties.

"He created an assembly line with no regard for these women whatsoever," Cameron said. "And he made money doing that."

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • No Beach Swimming Until Ocean City Lifeguards Return to Duty

    No Beach Swimming Until Ocean City Lifeguards Return to Duty

    Friday, May 26 2017 7:27 AM EDT2017-05-26 11:27:24 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 7:27 AM EDT2017-05-26 11:27:24 GMT

    Ocean City officials are urging residents and visitors not to swim at the resort town's beaches until lifeguards return to duty on Saturday morning.

    More

    Ocean City officials are urging residents and visitors not to swim at the resort town's beaches until lifeguards return to duty on Saturday morning.

    More
  • Teen Hospitalized After OC Hotel Fall

    Teen Hospitalized After OC Hotel Fall

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:48:06 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 7:22 AM EDT2017-05-26 11:22:21 GMT

    Ocean City police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City on Thursday afternoon.

    More

    Ocean City police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City on Thursday afternoon.

    More
  • Horse Harassment on Assateague

    Horse Harassment on Assateague

    Thursday, May 25 2017 4:45 PM EDT2017-05-25 20:45:00 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 7:20 AM EDT2017-05-26 11:20:05 GMT

    People on Delmarva think tourists are getting a little too close to Assateague's wild horses. 

    More

    People on Delmarva think tourists are getting a little too close to Assateague's wild horses.

    More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Teen Hospitalized After OC Hotel Fall

    Teen Hospitalized After OC Hotel Fall

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:48 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:48:06 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 7:22 AM EDT2017-05-26 11:22:21 GMT

    Ocean City police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City on Thursday afternoon.

    More

    Ocean City police say a 17-year-old boy was hospitalized after falling from an unknown height at a hotel in Ocean City on Thursday afternoon.

    More
  • Cruisin' Leaves its Mark on Ocean City

    Cruisin' Leaves its Mark on Ocean City

    Wednesday, May 24 2017 6:38 PM EDT2017-05-24 22:38:22 GMT
    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:41 AM EDT2017-05-25 11:41:49 GMT

     Cruisin' leaves it's mark on Ocean City. 

    More

    Last weekend's Cruisin' Ocean City event left its mark, in more ways than one. 

    More
  • Cambridge Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Cambridge Traffic Stop Leads to Drug Arrest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 7:56 PM EDT2017-05-25 23:56:24 GMT
    Friday, May 26 2017 7:15 AM EDT2017-05-26 11:15:24 GMT

    A Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop lead to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More

    Authorities say a Federalsburg man is being held without bond after a traffic stop led to the discovery of drugs and weapons.

    More
  • Most Popular VideosMost Popular VideosMore>>

  • Dover Shootings Cause Heightened Concern Over Safety

    Dover Shootings Cause Heightened Concern Over Safety

    Yellow tape on Wednesday marked the crime scene outside a home in Capital Green where police said two people were shot in broad daylight while filming a rap video.

    More

    Yellow tape on Wednesday marked the crime scene outside a home in Capital Green where police said two people were shot in broad daylight while filming a rap video.

    More
  • 'Ghost Pots' Hurting Chesapeake Bay's Blue Crab Population

    'Ghost Pots' Hurting Chesapeake Bay's Blue Crab Population

    Crabbing season is well underway, and that means hundreds of thousands of crab pots are in the Chesapeake Bay catching blue crabs.

    Every morning during crabbing season, you can see watermen gathering up their pots, collecting their catch, and putting the pots back in the water. What you cannot see is the problem: pots that have had their lines severed sit on the bay's bottom, sometimes never seen again, along with the crabs inside them.

    More

    Crabbing season is well underway, and that means hundreds of thousands of crab pots are in the Chesapeake Bay catching blue crabs.

    Every morning during crabbing season, you can see watermen gathering up their pots, collecting their catch, and putting the pots back in the water. What you cannot see is the problem: pots that have had their lines severed sit on the bay's bottom, sometimes never seen again, along with the crabs inside them.

    More
  • Updated: Polygraph Tests at Heart of White Marlin Open Trial

    Updated: Polygraph Tests at Heart of White Marlin Open Trial

    Thursday marked day four of the White Marlin Open trial in Baltimore, in which a federal judge has to figure out who will get the millions of dollars in prize money from last year's tournament held in Ocean City.

    More

    Thursday marked day four of the White Marlin Open trial in Baltimore, in which a federal judge has to figure out who will get the millions of dollars in prize money from last year's tournament held in Ocean City.

    More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices