Definitions of Murder Under Review By Jury of West Phila. Abortion Doctor
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By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – During its fifth day of deliberations, the jury in the trial of West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell today asked the court to redefine “degrees” of murder and other charges.
Prompted by the jury questions, Judge Jeffrey Minehart restated the legal definitions of first- and third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and infanticide, then gave jurors a written copy of the definitions.
Gosnell is charged with the first-degree murder of four fetuses allegedly born alive and viable, and the third-degree murder of a woman who died following an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic.
During the trial, witnesses testified that fetuses’ necks were cuts with scissors — some calling it a “standard” procedure at the clinic — to ensure fetal demise. The prosecution alleges the woman who died had received an overdose of medicines administered by an untrained and unqualified staff member.
A first-degree murder conviction requires a specific intent to kill.
Gosnell did not testify in his own behalf and the defense called no witnesses of its own. The defense contends the fetuses were not alive and that the woman’s death was an accident resulting from an adverse drug reaction.
Stay tuned to KYW Newsradio 1060 and CBS Philly for updates on this story and for the verdicts as soon as they are announced.