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Kermit Gosnell is escorted from the courthouse following Monday's verdict.
Associated Press/Photo by Yong Kim (Philadelphia Daily News)
Kermit Gosnell is escorted from the courthouse following Monday's verdict.

Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder

Gosnell Trial | The jury must now decide whether he deserves the death penalty for taking the lives of infants born at his abortion facility

UPDATE (4:10 p.m.): Defense attorney Jack McMahon, who vehemently defended Kermit Gosnell against charges he killed babies born alive at his abortion facility, admitted defeat today by acknowledging the jury didn’t reach its decision lightly.

“We respect the jury’s verdict,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. “Obviously the jury took their job very seriously. They were very conscientious. … They worked very hard. That’s our system and that’s the way it goes.”

McMahon noted the jury didn’t find Gosnell guilty on every count, suggesting his defense strategy wasn't completely ineffective. He also said it was too early to talk about an appeal and would not talk about his strategy during the sentencing phase of the trial. The judge had issued a gag order to prevent attorneys from speaking about the case throughout the trial.

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UPDATE (3:50 p.m.): In addition to the first-degree murder charges, the jury found Kermit Gosnell guilty of aborting 21 babies older than Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit. It also found him guilty of corruption and conspiracy.

Jurors will return May 21 to start the sentencing phase of the trial. Several others involved in the case also await their sentencing. Four of Gosnell’s former employees pleaded guilty to murder and testified against him during the trial. Four more, including his wife, Pearl, pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

Gosnell, 72, did not testify during the trial, but he could take the stand during sentencing.

Although pro-life advocates complained about a lack of media coverage during the trial, dozens of news outlets showed up this week to cover the verdict. As it did during the campaign to raise awareness of the trial, #Gosnell became a trending topic on Twitter as news of the verdict leaked out.

UPDATE (3:30 p.m.): On the 10th day of deliberations, the jury in Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial issued the verdict pro-life advocates had been praying for—guilty. 

The jury found the Philadelphia abortionist guilty of three of the four first-degree murder charges prosecutors filed against him. They also found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the case of patient Karnamaya Mongar, who died after overdosing on anesthesia. Prosecutors had sought third-degree murder charges in Mongar’s death.

The abortionist, who showed almost no emotion as the verdict was read, according to reports, faces the death penalty. The assistant district attorney broke down in tears.

Gosnell faces an additional 253 charges for racketeering, performing illegal abortions after 24 weeks, failing to observe the 24-hour waiting period, and endangering a child’s welfare for employing a 15-year-old in the procedure area.

Details of the jury’s verdict are continuing to emerge.

UPDATE (3:20 p.m.): The jury has found Kermit Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive during late-term abortion procedures. They found him not guilty in the death of patient Karnamaya Mongar, who died after overdosing on anesthesia.

UPDATE (2:50 p.m.): The jury has reached a verdict in the Kermit Gosnell case. We'll report the details as soon as we have them.

EARLIER STORY (11:25 a.m.): The jury deliberating murder charges against Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell announced Monday it is deadlocked on two counts but did not specify which charges they could not agree on.

Gosnell faces four first-degree murder charges in the deaths of babies prosecutors say were born alive during late-term abortion procedures. He also faces a third-degree murder charge in the death of a patient given too much anesthesia. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the case.

But Gosnell also faces hundreds of other charges, including racketeering, performing illegal abortions after 24 weeks, failing to observe the 24-hour waiting period, and endangering a child’s welfare for employing a 15-year-old in the procedure area.

After hearing the jurors’ announcement, Judge Jeffrey Minehart asked them to try one more time to reach a consensus on the two counts. If they can’t, he could accept their verdict on the other 256 counts and declare a mistrial on the two outliers.

Today marks the 10th day of deliberations for the jury, which sat through five weeks of testimony to get to this point. Several times during the past week, jurors asked to rehear testimony from the trial. They first asked to review testimony given by Gosnell employee Lynda Williams, who said she saw her boss use scissors to slice through the spinal chords of at least 30 babies after they were born. On Thursday, they reviewed the testimony of former Gosnell assistant Adrienne Moton, who testified to “snipping” the necks of 10 babies during abortion procedures.

Early Friday afternoon, jurors said they were exhausted and wanted to go home early.

Leigh Jones
Leigh Jones

Leigh lives in Atlanta and is the managing editor of WORLD's website.

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