Reporting Tony Hanson
Filed underCrime, Crime and Justice, Health, Heard On, Local, News, Philadelphia, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
By Tony Hanson, Walt Hunter, Pat Ciarrocchi, Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A Philadelphia jury today convicted West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell of three counts of first-degree murder for cutting the necks of babies born alive and viable.
Gosnell was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a woman who died during an abortion at his clinic.
Gosnell, 72, was found not guilty on a fourth count of first-degree murder involving the death of a fetus but was found guilty of infanticide — that is, negligence causing the death of an infant.
LISTEN: Gosnell defense attorney Jack McMahon reacts to verdicts (runs 7:14)…
Gosnell was facing hundreds of counts in all, led by the five counts of murder (four babies allegedly born alive and then killed with scissors and one woman who died during an abortion).
In addition to the five murder charges, Gosnell was also facing more than 200 charges of violating abortion law. Other charges included conspiracy and performing abortions past 24 weeks, which was conceded by the defense.
WATCH: Tense atmosphere in court as verdicts were read…
Earlier in the day on Monday, the jury told the judge that they were deadlocked on two counts. It was not immediately known which counts they were hung on. However, the judge ordered the jury to resume their deliberations and it was announced that a verdict was reached at about 2:15 p.m.
The foreman rose and then read verdict sheets, first against co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, who was convicted of conspiracy and two of six counts of theft by deception for billing as a doctor, when she was unlicensed.
The 14-page verdict sheet on Gosnell contained 261 counts. Beyond the murder charges, they included guilty verdicts on 21 of 24 counts of performing third-trimester abortions and 210 of 226 counts of failing to counsel patients a day in advance.
Gosnell’s defense team argued the babies were not born alive, and the woman’s death was an accident, resulting from an adverse reaction to medicine.
Now, it will be up to the same jurors to decide Gosnell’s fate. Prosecutors have indicated throughout the trial that they would ask for the death penalty, although a late agreement may sidestep that. Jury deliberations in the penalty phase of the trial are scheduled to begin Tuesday.