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Part One: Gosnell Found guilty of three-counts of first-degree murder, one count of involuntary manslaughter; sentencing phase begins next week

by | May 13, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

Jack McMahon, Kermit Gosnell's defense attorney

Jack McMahon, Kermit Gosnell’s defense attorney

Just a short time after the jury in the murder trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell said it was hung on two counts, the seven women and five men today found Gosnell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter.

The sentencing phase of the case will begin a week from Tuesday. Gosnell is 72 years old. Although prosecutors had said they intended to seek the death penalty in the event of a conviction on any of the first-degree murder charges, given the defendant’s age and how long appeals could take, there was immediate speculation that Gosnell would try to cut a deal.

Ironically, news of the verdict seeped out even though Judge Jeffrey P Minehart had confiscated all electronic equipment. How fitting that the truth would so quickly work its way so through after what took place at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society was hidden for decades.

The jury found Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in the cases of babies “a, c, d.” He was also convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, Virginia. The verdict came in the tenth day of deliberations.

Steve Volk of Philadelphia Weekly tweeted that Gosnell “heard verdict passively, with small bitter faced smiles.” Kristen Brown, a producer for Fox News, said Gosnell “looked completely taken aback” and “completely bewildered.” Brown described the decision of defense attorney Jack McMahon not to have Gosnell testify “surprising.” In a news conference held outside the Pleas court, McMahon defended his decision.

In fact, not presenting any witnesses or testimony was utterly predictable. McMahon framed the case as a racist attack on a kindly doctor who practiced “urban medicine.” Most important, none of the babies were alive, McMahon insisted, even though multiple former Gosnell employees said they witnessed babies moving, breathing, screaming, even swimming in a toilet.

In the impromptu press conference McMahon, of course, chose his words carefully. He praised the jury for working “very, very hard,” saying the members “should be commended.”

Reporters asked a number of questions about “obstacles” and “hurtles.” McMahon talked about all the “emotion,” and likened Gosnell’s situation to salmon swimming upstream.

He also said the media was “overwhelmingly” against Gosnell. A better description was that most major media outlets ignored the case until they could not—or never did cover the murder trial.

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In his comments McMahon talked about how there were originally eight murder charges (the judge dismissed three first-degree murder charges along the way), saying that Gosnell was not found guilty of five. But McMahon then added there remained three first-degree murder charges “and we have to deal with that.”

It was in that response in which McMahon referred to “seven infants.”

The jury found Eileen O’Neill, Gosnell’s codefendant, guilty of two counts of theft by deception and two counts of conspiracy involving her work at Gosnell’s abortion clinic where she posed as a doctor. There are additional, separate federal charges pending against Gosnell for allegedly running an illegal narcotics operation.

The prosecution and the Grand Jury referred to Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” and “Baby Charnel House.” The Grand Jury was convinced Gosnell had performed hundreds of abortions on babies past the Pennsylvania limit of 24 weeks but said Gosnell had destroyed the records.

Categories: Gosnell