The jury in the Kermit Gosnell murder trial deliberated for a second day today and ended the day with no verdict. However, member of the jury actively informed themselves of laws that are applicable to the case and asked for information and assistance from the judge.
If sentenced for the convictions, Gosnell could face the death penalty following the convictions by the jury in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia.
Under Pennsylvania law, all 12 of the jurors must reach a unanimous verdict on any of the murder counts Gosnell faces for him to be convicted on any of them. Each of the elements of a charged crime must be proven to each juror beyond reasonable doubt for that juror to vote to convict on that count and one reluctant juror could lead to a mistrial on any of the first-degree murder charges.
Since prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty in the case, the jury will only be deciding whether Gosnell is guilty related to the charges. If convicted, a second jury will be impaneled to determine sentencing under the penalty phase of the trial. During this phase, the judge has already instructed jurors to only consider guilt or innocence.
Given the number of charges Gosnell faces, and the fact that Gosnell has a co-defendant the jury is considering for conviction as well, the jury make take a longer period of time to arrive at a verdict on each of the 250-plus charges.
Most of the focus in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell is on the murder charges he faces for killing babies in abortion-infanticides and for killing a woman in a botched abortion.
But Gosnell faces more than 200 charges related to violating Pennsylvania state law that requires him to provide women with informed consent 24 hours prior to the abortion. Gosnell is charged with breaking that law by not giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives 24 hours prior to the abortion.
As local reporter J.D. Mullane reported this morning, the Gosnell jury asked for patient information related to one patient who testified that Gosnell broke that law.
Mullane indicated the jury had the judge review RICO, theft by deception, conspiracy and testimony from an FBI agent. He indicated the judge could have them work on Friday if necessary.
During the jury’s deliberations on Tuesday, the jury asked Judge Jeffrey Minehart for the definition of infanticide, making it appear it was taking it’s role serious in determining if the babies Gosnell killed were alive at the time of their deaths. The jury also sent Judge Minehart a question to “define theft by deception” in what appears to be its consideration of charges against Eileen O’Neill, one of Gosnell’s staffers who pretended to be a doctor who has asked the judge to be acquitted.
Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for killing babies following delivery in an abortion process that involved “snipping” their necks and spinal cords. He also faces a third-degree murder charge related to the death of a woman, Karnamaya Mongar, 41, of Virginia, from a botched legal abortion. Gosnell, who has been in jail since his January 2011 arrest.
The abortionist faces 258 counts total and other charges against him include one count of infanticide and one of racketeering, 24 counts of performing third-trimester abortions and 227 counts of failing to follow the 24-hour waiting period law before an abortion so women can consider its risks and alternatives.
Eight other defendants who are former staffers of Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion clinic have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing.
During the closing arguments yesterday, Gosnell defense attorney Jack McMahon attempted to make the case to the jury today that workers for Gosnell are exaggerating the importance of movements in babies Gosnell killed. He was already successful in getting three of the seven murder counts dropped related to the babies.
The grand jury report indicated one baby was “moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times.”
But McMahon said the babies Gosnell killed in an abortion process involving their live birth and eventual “snipping” of their necks and spinal cords were dead before they were actually born. He claimed any movement staffers saw after the fact was involuntary or reflexive and not an indication they were still alive after birth. He claimed no “scientific evidence” exists that any babies were alive at the time their necks were snipped.
McMahon answered the question many pro-life advocates and prosecutors have asked: Why did Gosnell snip the necks of babies who were supposedly already dead from an abortion.
“Maybe (there was) some remote pain…I don’t know,” he said.
Testimony from the medical examiner and toxicologist indicated that there was no evidence the babies were injected with Digoxin to ensure the babies were dead prior to the abortion, as the defense has claimed. The medical examiner testified that tests were inconclusive as proof that the babies were born alive. However, the tests also did not prove the babies were dead prior to birth. Those inconclusive test results were overshadowed by the weight of testimony from witness after witness, who detailed how the babies were in fact living prior to being murdered through what one witness described as a “virtual beheading.”
McMahon also defended Gosnell against the murder charge related to killing a patient in a botched abortion, and he called death of abortion patient Karnamaya Mongar a “tragic accident” but not murder.
Previously, the judge in the case reinstated one of the murder charges and dropped another. Gosnell’s defense attorney asked the judge to drop three of the charges for killing the babies and the judge agreed with the contention there was not enough evidence to convict Gosnell on those charges. Another charge of infanticide was also dropped.
One of the dropped charges involved a 28-week-old baby Gosnell killed and whose remains were kept in an abortion clinic freezer.
Common pleas court Judge Jeffrey Minehart also dropped five counts of corpse abuse at the request of his defense attorney and did not explain his ruling dropping any of the charges.
The defense had argued that there were no live births at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Center abortion clinic and contends the babies died during abortions and their necks were snipped afterwards. But former Gosnell staffers testified they saw signs of life even after the abortion had been completed — saying the babies “jumped” and “screamed” and tried to escape.
Gosnell, whose squalid “house of horrors” abortion clinic has surprised even investigative officials, has had almost flippant attitude toward his macabre abortion practices shocked the nation.
“The Gosnell case is a watershed moment for the issue of abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The discovery of his horrific practices helped shed light on an abortion industry that has run amok without oversight or accountability for decades, and has prompted significant changes in abortion laws and attitudes toward enforcement in several states.”
Previously, Gosnell’s wife Pearl pleaded guilty to assisting her husband at his Philadelphia abortion center where he killed a woman in a botched abortion and has killed hundreds of babies in abortion-infanticides. Pearl Gosnell was considering a plea deal similar to the one several of Gosnell’s former abortion center employees have made where they have pleaded guilty to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against Gosnell.
Pearl also worked at the abortion center Gosnell ran that had him kill and injure women in failed abortions and kill perhaps hundreds of babies in grisly infanticides by birthing them and “snipping” their spinal cords. She worked at the Women’s Medical Society abortion business her husband ran as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until she married Kermit Gosnell in 1990, when she switched to only working on Sundays.
At that time, the abortion business was officially closed but would do its latest-term abortions possible. The grand jury report indicates Pearl Gosnell testified that she alone helped Kermit do abortions on Sundays when she would “help do the instruments” in the operating room despite no medical training.
The murder charges also came in connection with the botched abortion death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic after a failed abortion. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor.
Mongar’s family filed a lawsuit against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages. Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including Pearl, were arrested in January after a grand jury indicted them on multiple charges after officials raided his abortion business following a woman’s death and discovered a “shop of horrors” filled with bags of bodies and body parts of deceased unborn children and babies killed in infanticides.
Meanwhile, women have spoken out about their treatment and one woman says she was drugged and tied up and forced to have an abortion. Authorities searching the facility found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.
The grand jury investigation also shows state officials did nothing when reports came in about problems at Gosnell’s abortion center, which has upset incoming pro-life Governor Tom Corbett.
Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010. It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.
The abortion industry has been forced to suspend two abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.
Following revelations that Gosnell is associated with two other abortion centers in Louisiana and Delaware, the National Abortion Federation made the decision to suspend the memberships of both. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, the Delaware abortion business that employed Gosnell one day a week to do abortions, and the Delta Clinic abortion center of Baton Rouge, have both had their memberships suspended. Leroy Brinkley owns both abortion businesses. Atlantic operated abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.