By Cheryl Sullenger
Philadelphia, PA — After receiving final instructions from Judge Jeffery P. Minehart, a jury of seven women and five men began deliberations today in the Kermit Gosnell capital murder case. The jury retired for the day without having reached a verdict, and will continue deliberations on Wednesday.
Gosnell, 72, faces four first degree murder charges for the deaths if four babies that were born alive during late-term abortions at his West Philadelphia “House of Horrors” abortion clinic. He also faces one count of third degree murder in the death of 41-year old Karnamaya Mongar, who died after a drug overdose administered by Gosnell’s unqualified staff. Testimony indicated that Gosnell’s failure to take appropriate life-saving measures contributed to her death.
Gosnell also faces one count of Infanticide for the death of Baby A, 24 felony counts of violating the Abortion Control Act by doing abortions over 24 weeks, 226 counts of violating the Abortion Control Act’s 24-hour informed consent provisions, and a plethora of charges related to Conspiracy, Corrupt Organizations, and Racketeering.
Eileen O’Neill, a former unlicensed Gosnell employee who passed herself off as a licensed physician, was tried along with Gosnell, but on separate charges that included eight counts of Theft by Deception, and one Corrupt Organization charge.
The jury was told to consider O’Neill’s charges separately a from Gosnell’s case and not to hold evidence of crimes that Gosnell may have committed against her.
Judge Minehart told the jury that yesterday’s lengthy closing arguments were sometimes emotional, noting that Prosecutor Ed Cameron has asked Gosnell if he was human, while Defense Attorney Jack McMahon had accused the prosecutors of being racist. Minehart instructed the jury to disregard such emotional statements in their deliberations.
The jury instructions gave guidance on legal definations of terms, standards that must be met before a guilty verdict can be reached, and how to consider the testimony of accomplices who testified against Gosnell.
Minehart also instructed the jury that the viability of the babies Gosnell is accused of murdering by “snipping” their spinal cords with surgical scissors is not an issue in this case, but rather if the babies were alive when the stabbings took place.
McMahon claimed that none of the babies Gosnell is accused of murdering were alive when their spinal cords were severed because Digoxin that was administered prior to the abortion had already killed them.
However, he admitted that some babies were aborted by his client after the legal limit of 24 weeks, gestation. He also stipulated that over 200 abortion charts contained 24-hour consent forms that were signed on the same day that the abortions took place.
Prosecutors argued that there was testimony and evidence that no digoxin was present in the baby’s bodies, and none was found in Gosnell’s clinic by Crime Scene Unit Investigators. Prosecutors primarily relied on the testimony of witnesses who saw babies moving, breathing, and crying as proof of life.
If convicted on any of the first degree murder counts, Gosnell could face the death penalty. Jurors were instructed not to consider any possible consequences of their verdict, but to only focus on the charges at this time.
“If Gosnell is convicted, it will send shock waves through the abortion cartel where so many Gosnell-like practices are rampant. It will send a clear message that those who break the law can expect to be held accountable,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-life Nation. “On the other hand, if Gosnell is acquitted, it will be a signal to abortionists that they never have to worry about being caught because if Gosnell couldn’t be convicted, no one can. There will be no incentive to comply with the law or patient care standards. That will only serve to create a climate that will further endanger the lives of women and their babies and leave them, unprotected from exploitation and abuse.”