Despite intimations earlier today of a hung jury in the trail of former Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, jurors minutes ago returned a verdict of guilty on three of four counts of first-degree murder involving the deaths of four babies. The doctor, who ran a clinic in West Philadelphia, was was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of patient Karnamaya Mongar.
NBC 10 Philadelphia reports:
The jury of seven women and five men weighed a total of 263 crimes against Gosnell with the most serious being four counts of first-degree murder.
The courtroom was locked down and reporters told to turn off all electronic devices as the jury read the verdict aloud. The jury read a verdict for each count before it was communicated with the public.
Gosnell will now face the death penalty as a possibility in the sentencing phase.
Gosnell, 72, was charged on January 14, 2011 with 263 crimes, including first-degree murder in the deaths of four babies. Prosecutors alleged that he delivered the babies alive during abortion procedures and then killed them by snipping their spinal cords with scissors.
The majority of the charges levied against Gosnell are related to alleged Pennsylvania abortion-law violations. Prosecutors say that Gosnell regularly performed late-term abortions on babies older than 24 weeks, the cutoff age in the Keystone State.
Gosnell’s defense attorney argued that he would inject a drug into his patients’ uterus to stop the fetuses’ hearts before they were delivered.
Jurors will now continue deliberations over of crimes by Gosnell’s co-defendant Eileen O’Neill. Prosecutors say that O’Neill deceived patients and insurance companies by pretending to be a licensed physician and billing for those services.
If the jury in the sentencing phase decides to space Gosnell’s life, at his age, it remains likely that he will spend the rest of it in prison. Nor will he be done with court once his trial is adjourned. He must still answer to federal charges brought against him for allegedly running an illegal narcotics operation out of his clinic.
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