NRL News

Jury Continues Deliberations in Gosnell Murder Trial

by | May 10, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

GosnelljuryupdateAs of this writing (mid-afternoon on Friday), the jury in the Kermit Gosnell murder trial is still wading through a battery of charges against the 72-year-old abortionist.

Those include many  beyond the four first-degree murder charges (for babies allegedly aborted alive and then murdered) and the one third-degree murder charge (in the case of 41-year-old woman who died, prosecutors say, of an overdose of Demerol and other painkillers).

Reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Joseph A. Slobodzian explained why the verdicts may be a long time in coming, captured in an opening sentence in a story posted early this morning: “A Philadelphia jury is to resume its apparently methodical analysis of the case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Friday after learning that the task ahead may be bigger than it thought.”

Among many other  things, Slobodzian is referring to the 227 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s 24-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion. Slobodzian added

“Late Thursday, the Common Pleas Court jury of seven women and five men asked if an earlier stipulation involving medical records for those abortions meant it could return one mass verdict.

“No, said Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. Defense and prosecution lawyers stipulated only that the 227 records were from the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia.

“Minehart said the jury must reach separate verdicts on each of the 227  counts.

“The faces of several jurors fell at Minehart’s words, and the jury called it a day soon afterward.”

As NRL News Today previously reported, on Wednesday the testimony of Lynda Williams, a  former Gosnell employee, was read back to the jury. Likewise on Thursday with the testimony of Adrienne Moton.

Slobodzian explained why the testimony of these two women is pivotal with regard to the first-degree murder charges. Jack McMahon, Gosnell’s defense attorney, argues that the babies were not born alive and therefore he can’t be found guilty of murdering them.

Both Williams and Moton testified babies were born alive. The Philadelphia Daily News’ Mensah M. Dean deftly summarized Moton’s powerful testimony:

“Moton’s memory of one baby – known in court as ‘Baby A’ – brought her to tears. The child was born in July 2008 so large and seemingly healthy in the 29th week of pregnancy that Moton took a cellphone picture before Gosnell rushed in and carried the boy away, she said. Abortions after the 24th week of pregnancy are banned in Pennsylvania.

“’I just saw a big baby boy. He had that color, that color that a baby has,’ a weeping Moton said under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron.

“’I just felt he could have had a chance. . . . He could have been born any day,’ added Moton, who has been jailed for 26 months.”

Later, Dean added, “A female juror covered her mouth as if in shock when a color picture of ‘Baby A’ was shown on courtroom video screens.”

Williams’ testimony may have been the most unnerving of all.   Slobodzian reported

“One of her duties, Williams said, was to retrieve fetuses women would sometimes spontaneously abort in the waiting room after getting large doses of drugs to dilate the cervix.

“One day, Williams testified, a woman expelled a second-trimester fetus into the toilet and it was moving. Williams said she took a pair of scissors and snipped the spine as Gosnell showed her.

“’I did it once, and I didn’t do it again because it gave me the creeps,’ Williams said.”

In both cases, the women admitted to third-degree murder charges and agreed to testify against Gosnell. “Gosnell ordered them to cut the spinal cords of babies that were delivered prematurely by abortion patients and also instructed them exactly how to ‘ensure fetal demise,’ with a pair of surgical scissors,” according to Sean O’Sullivan of the [Delaware] News Journal.

Categories: Gosnell