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Local News
05/15/13

Abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell, sentenced

Sarah Hoye, (CNN) — Philadelphia abortion provider Kermit Gosnell was sentenced Wednesday to life with no parole in the death of one of three babies. On Tuesday, he received the same sentence in the two other deaths. Judge Jeffrey Minehart, who rendered the decision, also sentenced Gosnell on Wednesday to two-and-a-half to five years in the case of a woman who died of an anesthetic overdose during an abortion.

National & World News
05/14/13

No Death Penalty

A Philadelphia abortion doctor has agreed not to appeal his first degree murder convictions in exchange he will not get the death penalty.  A jury found Kermit Gosnell guilty of killing three babies born alive at his clinic.  The abortions were done past the state’s 24 week limit.  Prosecutors have agreed to live in prison without parole.

By Sarah Hoye, PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — It’s late afternoon on a recent Friday when Shree McKinley walks past the Women’s Medical Society.

Making her way toward a large picture window, she peers inside the shuttered medical clinic, cupping her hand on the glass to block the glaring sun.

Backing away, she gasps at a series of petite baby hands made of plaster fastened to the windowsill.

“That is sad,” she said. “But I guess it’s the memory of the little kids that never made it.”

McKinley said she was a patient of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia physician who was accused of killing babies born after attempted abortions in the sixth, seventh, and eighth months of their mothers’ pregnancies at his Pennsylvania clinic, while operating in dangerous, deplorable conditions.

Gosnell carried out those killings in a particularly brutal manner: using scissors to cut the babies’ spinal cords. He also was charged in the death of a 41-year-old woman during an abortion procedure.

He was found guilty Monday of three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of the babies, and involuntary manslaughter for the woman’s death.

The grisly allegations in the case — dirty procedure rooms, blood-stained and weathered equipment, babies born alive, breathing and crying, and unlicensed staff administering anesthesia — shocked the nation and prompted McKinley to rethink what she went through six years ago.

The 36-year-old now wonders if maybe her child was born alive and had its neck snipped.

“I try not to think about it. But I think about it, and it’s sad. I wish I never did it,” she said. “If I would have known what I know now, I never would have had an abortion.”

McKinley, now a mother, said she was approximately six months pregnant at the time Gosnell performed her abortion, which was not part of the criminal case against him.

CNN could not independently verify McKinley’s account.

It’s illegal to perform an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy in the state of Pennsylvania. Generally, most doctors will not perform abortions after 20 weeks, Philadelphia district attorney Seth Williams said following Gosnell’s arrest in January 2011. Prosecutors say Gosnell, who is not certified to perform abortions, falsified gestational ages on records.

“This doctor gained the reputation far and wide that he’d perform abortions at any time,” Williams said.

Struggling with the idea of having a child, McKinley ultimately decided to terminate her pregnancy. So one evening, her father escorted her to Gosnell’s crowded and unkempt clinic in West Philadelphia for the procedure.

“He seemed like he was a helpful person,” she said of Gosnell, adding that her abortion cost $1,600. “I didn’t have (all) the money up front. So I was able to give him partial money and come back and pay the rest off in payment plans.”

Although unaware of the salacious allegations that later surfaced during the investigation of the clinic, McKinley said she felt “uncomfortable” and “scared” at the doctor’s office.

“All the equipment was old, it was rusty. It looked like stuff from back in the 70s. And it was dirty,” she said. “But I had to, you know, at the time, I had to do what I had to do.”

During the trial, prosecutors accused Gosnell of reusing unsanitary instruments; performing procedures in filthy rooms, including some having litter boxes and animals present during operations; and allowing unlicensed employees — including a teenage high school student — to perform operations and administer anesthesia.

Gosnell’s defense attorney Jack McMahon maintained that none of the infants was killed; rather, he said, they were already deceased as a result of Gosnell previously administering the drug Digoxin, which can cause abortion.

The conviction on three counts of first-degree murder mean Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, could be sentenced to death.

“He deserves to die,” McKinley said.

From Sarah Hoye, PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — A jury Monday found a Philadelphia abortion provider guilty of three counts of first-degree murder.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was accused of killing babies by using scissors to cut their spinal cords. Authorities alleged that some of the infants were born alive and viable during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.

Monday’s first-degree murder conviction means Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, could be sentenced to death.

Gosnell also was accused in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion at his West Philadelphia clinic. In that case, the jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Gosnell was also found guilty of 21 counts of abortion of the unborn, 24 weeks or older.

In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

Earlier, the jury, after deliberating for two weeks, said it was hung on two counts, and the judge instructed them to continue trying to reach a verdict on them.

Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart also told jurors that their progress showed they were “considering the evidence seriously.”

Gosnell’s co-defendant, Eileen O’Neill, 56, is charged with participating in the operation of a corrupt organization and theft by deception for operating without a license to practice medicine. O’Neill, a medical school graduate, is not charged with performing illegal abortions.

Both pleaded not guilty.

Eight people involved in Gosnell’s clinic, called the Women’s Medical Society, have pleaded guilty to various charges, including four to murder.

The grand jury report from 2011 says the “people who ran this sham medical practice included no doctors other than Gosnell himself, and not even a single nurse,” yet they still made diagnoses, performed procedures and administered drugs.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon, in an impassioned, 2½-hour closing argument, said that none of the infants was killed; rather, he said, they were already dead as a result of Gosnell administering the drug Digoxin, which can cause abortion.

Gosnell also was accused of reusing unsanitary instruments; performing procedures in filthy rooms, including some in which litter boxes and animals allegedly were present at the time; and allowing unlicensed employees — including a teenage high school student — to perform operations and administer anesthesia.

The remains of aborted fetuses were stored in water jugs, pet food containers and a freezer at the clinic, the city’s chief medical examiner Sam Gulino testified.

Former employee Kareema Cross said Gosnell regularly performed illegal late-term abortions that he routinely recorded as “24.5 weeks.” In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

McMahon, who called no witnesses, accused prosecutors of “the most extraordinary hype and exaggeration in the history of the criminal justice system,” even adding that they are “elitist” and “racist.”

Gosnell has been accused by authorities of preying on low-income, minority women. McMahon argued that Gosnell offered access to health care for people who were poor and without health insurance.

During his closing remarks, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron turned to Gosnell and yelled, “Are you human?”

Gosnell smirked at Cameron without speaking. Cameron then continued, declaring, “It’s time for us to extinguish the fire he created.”

The doctor was first charged in January 2011.

CNN’s Josh Levs, David Ariosto, and Sunny Hostin contributed to this report.

David Ariosto, (CNN) — The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, accused in the deaths of four infants and a woman at his clinic.

Come back here when the verdict comes down.

—-

From Sarah Hoye, PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, was accused of killing babies by using scissors to cut their spinal cords. Authorities alleged that some of the infants were born alive and viable during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.

He also was accused in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion at his West Philadelphia clinic.

If he is found guilty of first-degree murder, Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, could be sentenced to death.

Gosnell also is charged with conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.

He faces 19 charges, and a total of 263 counts.

In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

The jury, after deliberating for two weeks, was hung on two counts. The judge instructed the jurors earlier Monday to continue trying to reach a verdict on them.

Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart also told jurors that their progress showed they were “considering the evidence seriously.”

Gosnell’s co-defendant, Eileen O’Neill, 56, is charged with participating in the operation of a corrupt organization and theft by deception for operating without a license to practice medicine. O’Neill, a medical school graduate, is not charged with performing illegal abortions.

Both pleaded not guilty.

Eight people involved in Gosnell’s clinic, called the Women’s Medical Society, have pleaded guilty to various charges, including four to murder.

The grand jury report from 2011 says the “people who ran this sham medical practice included no doctors other than Gosnell himself, and not even a single nurse,” yet they still made diagnoses, performed procedures and administered drugs.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon, in an impassioned, 2½-hour closing argument, said that none of the infants was killed; rather, he said, they were already dead as a result of Gosnell administering the drug Digoxin, which can cause abortion.

Gosnell also was accused of reusing unsanitary instruments; performing procedures in filthy rooms, including some in which litter boxes and animals allegedly were present at the time; and allowing unlicensed employees — including a teenage high school student — to perform operations and administer anesthesia.

The remains of aborted fetuses were stored in water jugs, pet food containers and a freezer at the clinic, the city’s chief medical examiner Sam Gulino testified.

Former employee Kareema Cross said Gosnell regularly performed illegal late-term abortions that he routinely recorded as “24.5 weeks.” In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

McMahon, who called no witnesses, accused prosecutors of “the most extraordinary hype and exaggeration in the history of the criminal justice system,” even adding that they are “elitist” and “racist.”

Gosnell has been accused by authorities of preying on low-income, minority women. McMahon argued that Gosnell offered access to health care for people who were poor and without health insurance.

During his closing remarks, Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron turned to Gosnell and yelled, “Are you human?”

Gosnell smirked at Cameron without speaking. Cameron then continued, declaring, “It’s time for us to extinguish the fire he created.”

The doctor was first charged in January 2011.

CNN’s Josh Levs, David Ariosto, and Sunny Hostin contributed to this report.

By Sarah Hoye, PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — A judge in the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and a co-defendant instructed the jury Monday to continue trying to reach a verdict on two particular counts, an hour after the jury indicated it was hung on those charges.

The jury’s announcement that it was hung on two counts — it was not clear which ones, or against whom — came two weeks after it began deliberations.

Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart, before instructing the jurors to continue deliberations Monday morning, told them that their progress to this point shows they’re “considering the evidence seriously” and was an “indication of sincerity.”

Gosnell, 72, faces four counts of first-degree murder, accused of killing four babies by using scissors to cut their spinal cords. Authorities allege that some of the infants were born alive and viable during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.

In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

He also faces a count of third-degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who authorities say died during a second-trimester abortion. Gosnell also is charged with conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.

If found guilty of first-degree murder, Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, could be sentenced to death.

Gosnell’s co-defendant, Eileen O’Neill, is charged with participating in the operation of a corrupt organization and theft by deception for operating without a license to practice medicine. O’Neill, a medical school graduate, is not charged with performing illegal abortions.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

By Sarah Hoye, PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — The defense attorney for a Philadelphia abortion doctor charged with murder in the deaths of four babies on Monday attacked prosecutors’ evidence that live births took place at Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s clinic as he presented closing arguments in the case.

Gosnell, 72, is accused of killing babies with scissors that were used to cut their spinal cords. Authorities allege that some of the infants were born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.

Although he did not call a single witness to the stand, Gosnell’s defense attorney, Jack McMahon, gave an impassioned, 2 1/2-hour closing argument to the jury refuting the prosecution’s evidence and once again claiming that none of the infants was killed; rather, he said, they were already dead as a result of Gosnell administering the drug Digoxin, which can cause abortion.

McMahon, stalking the jury box, accused prosecutors of “the most extraordinary hype and exaggeration in the history of the criminal justice system,” even adding that they are “elitist” and “racist.”

Gosnell, who is African-American, has been accused by authorities of preying on low-income, minority women. McMahon argued that Gosnell offered people who were poor and without health insurance access to health care.

“These are desperate, young girls who were in trouble. But he provided these desperate young girls with relief,” McMahon said.

Flipping through a series of photos of the Women’s Medical Clinic, McMahon argued that the images rebuffed their “House of Horrors” claim.

“This isn’t a perfect place by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not what they say it is,” McMahon bellowed. “Are you going to believe Mr. Cameron or your lying eyes.”

McMahon then asked the jury to find courage and “be fair,” he said.

“Be true to yourself,” he said, “Go by what the evidence is, not what everyone wants it to be.”

Before Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron delivered his closing arguments, an examination chair with stirrups, a sonogram machine and other medical devices that were on permanent display in the center of the courtroom during the trial were returned to their place facing the jury box. District Attorney Seth Williams, flanked by a security detail, entered the packed courtroom and observed from the back of the room.

“This case is not about us,” Cameron said. “It’s about Karnamaya Mongar, and those four babies that are dead, and getting them justice.”

Cameron then summarized testimony from almost all 54 witnesses who took the stand during the seven-week trial. As he read through key facets of testimony, four enlarged photos of three fetuses, and a photo of Mongar and her husband, faced the jury before being placed on several monitors throughout the courtroom.

At one point Cameron turned to Gosnell, who wrote notes incessantly on a notepad, and yelled.

“Are you human?” he asked, hands on his hips while Gosnell smirked back at him. “It’s time for us to extinguish the fire he created.”

Gosnell originally faced eight counts of murder in the deaths of seven babies and Mongar, 41, who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion. He is also charged with conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.

Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart threw out three of the seven first-degree murder charges against Gosnell last week. He has pleaded not guilty.

The judge also tossed all five abuse of corpse charges for storing the feet of aborted fetuses in plastic containers. Minehart also dismissed one count of infanticide, the intentional killing of an infant.

Gosnell is also accused of reusing unsanitary instruments; performing procedures in filthy rooms, including some having litter boxes and animals present during operations; and allowing unlicensed employees — including a teenage high school student — to perform operations and administer anesthesia.

Nine others who worked in the west Philadelphia medical office, including Gosnell’s wife and sister-in-law, also were charged. Eight have pleaded guilty.

Also on trial is co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, 56, a medical school graduate who worked as a doctor at the Women’s Medical Society. O’Neill, who did not have a medical license, is not charged with performing abortions but with participating in the operation of a “corrupt organization” and “theft by deception” for operating without a doctor’s license.

“She was pretending to be a doctor and doesn’t deserve the title,” Cameron said, turning to O’Neill who looked down at her notepad and scribbled.

Meanwhile, a gag order preventing attorneys or the jury from speaking to the media remains in place.

If he is found guilty, Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, could be sentenced to death.

Kermit Gosnell

Kermit Gosnell

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

The defense in the murder trial of a Philadelphia doctor accused of performing illegal late-term abortions rested Wednesday without calling any witnesses.

Closing arguments in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell are scheduled for Monday, and a jury could begin deliberations Tuesday.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with four first-degree murder counts for the deaths of four babies. Authorities allege that some of the infants were born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy, but were killed with scissors that were used to cut their spinal cords.

In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon has maintained that none of the infants was killed; rather, he said, they were already deceased as a result of Gosnell previously administering the drug digoxin, which can cause abortion.

McMahon cross-examined the state’s witnesses Wednesday, but did not call any witnesses for the defense.

Gosnell also is charged with third-degree murder in the death of a 41-year-old Virginia woman, Karnamaya Mongar, who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion.

Gosnell, who operated the Women’s Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia, has pleaded not guilty.

On Tuesday, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart threw out three of the original seven first-degree murder charges against Gosnell as well as five abuse of corpse charges in connection with the storage of the feet of aborted fetuses. Minehart also dismissed one count of infanticide, the intentional killing of an infant.

A grand jury investigation determined that health and licensing officials had received reports about Gosnell’s practices for two decades but had taken no action, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.

When authorities searched Gosnell’s office, they found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building. Jars containing the severed feet of babies lined a shelf. Furniture and equipment was bloodstained, dusty and broken.

The city’s chief medical examiner, Sam Gulino, told jurors this month that as part of the investigation into the charges against Gosnell, he had to examine the remains of 47 aborted fetuses that were stored in water jugs, pet food containers and a freezer inside the abortion clinic.

Minehart also dismissed six of the nine counts of theft by deception against Gosnell co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, 56, a medical school graduate who worked as a doctor at the Women’s Medical Society.

O’Neill, who did not have a medical license, is not charged with performing abortions but with participating in the operation of a “corrupt organization.”

Meanwhile, a gag order remains in place preventing attorneys or the jury from speaking to the media.

If found guilty, Gosnell could be sentenced to death.

Source: CNN

Sarah Hoye, PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — The defense in the murder trial of a Philadelphia doctor accused of performing illegal late-term abortions rested Wednesday without calling any witnesses.

Closing arguments in the trial of Dr. Kermit Gosnell are scheduled for Monday, and a jury could begin deliberations Tuesday.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with four first-degree murder counts for the deaths of four babies. Authorities allege that some of the infants were born viable and alive during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy, but were killed with scissors that were used to cut their spinal cords.

In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

Defense attorney Jack McMahon has maintained that none of the infants was killed; rather, he said, they were already deceased as a result of Gosnell previously administering the drug digoxin, which can cause abortion.

McMahon cross-examined the state’s witnesses Wednesday, but did not call any witnesses for the defense.

Gosnell also is charged with third-degree murder in the death of a 41-year-old Virginia woman, Karnamaya Mongar, who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion.

Gosnell, who operated the Women’s Medical Society clinic in West Philadelphia, has pleaded not guilty.

On Tuesday, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart threw out three of the original seven first-degree murder charges against Gosnell as well as five abuse of corpse charges in connection with the storage of the feet of aborted fetuses. Minehart also dismissed one count of infanticide, the intentional killing of an infant.

A grand jury investigation determined that health and licensing officials had received reports about Gosnell’s practices for two decades but had taken no action, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said.

When authorities searched Gosnell’s office, they found bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses scattered throughout the building. Jars containing the severed feet of babies lined a shelf. Furniture and equipment was bloodstained, dusty and broken.

The city’s chief medical examiner, Sam Gulino, told jurors this month that as part of the investigation into the charges against Gosnell, he had to examine the remains of 47 aborted fetuses that were stored in water jugs, pet food containers and a freezer inside the abortion clinic.

Minehart also dismissed six of the nine counts of theft by deception against Gosnell co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, 56, a medical school graduate who worked as a doctor at the Women’s Medical Society.

O’Neill, who did not have a medical license, is not charged with performing abortions but with participating in the operation of a “corrupt organization.”

Meanwhile, a gag order remains in place preventing attorneys or the jury from speaking to the media.

If found guilty, Gosnell could be sentenced to death.

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