Three first degree murder, one involuntary homicide, and more than 230 other charges

Kermit Gosnee being processed in prison.

Kermit Gosnee being processed in prison.

Kermit Gosnell will have to serve three life sentences for killing three babies. He was found guilty by the jurors in three out of four first degree murder charges. This came on the tenth day of deliberation after the jury reported being hung on two counts. Prosecutors agreed to give Gosnell two life sentences and not pursue the death penalty in return for the abortionist waiving his right to appeal. Judge Jeffrey Minehart then imposed a third life sentence on Gosnell.

Gosnell, the abortionist heading the Women’s Medical Society abortion mill in Philadelphia dubbed the “House of Horrors,” was initially charged with seven counts of first-degree murder for snipping the spines of late-term babies born alive and one count of third-degree murder for the death of Bhutan refugee Karnamaya Mongar, who was overdosed on Demerol while getting an abortion at the facility.

Since mid-march, jurors have heard testimony about the horrific conditions and practices at Gosnell’s facility, including from former employees. Gosnell regularly committed abortions after Pennsylvania’s 24-week legal limit. He hired unqualified employees to assist in the abortions, which were done in unsanitary conditions and often not under Gosnell’s supervision. Many of the bodies were found in freezers at the facility. One employee testified that a large baby was delivered by a patient into the toilet, where it struggled to escape before another employee severed the spinal cord.

During its deliberations, the jury reviewed testimony from Lynda Williams, an employee charged for murder of severing the babies’ spinal cords. She had testified that three babies were delivered into toilets one day and killed. She saw him do this to about 30 babies. She also said Gosnell falsified records to justify killing babies above the 24 week abortion limit in Pennsylvania.

After Gosnell’s defence attorney, Jack McMahon, requested that all seven first-degree murder charges be thrown out because there was not enough evidence to prove the babies were born alive, Judge Jeffrey Minehart dismissed three of them. He also threw out one infanticide charge and five counts of abuse of a corpse that referred to Gosnell’s practice of preserving the feet of aborted babies in jars.

Kermit Gosnell’s defence rested without calling any witnesses. Gosnell himself did not testify. During closing arguments, McMahon, who claims – contrary to workers’ testimony – that none of the babies were alive during birth because they were injected with Digoxin beforehand, said that the prosecution against Gosnell was “racist.” He “offered a service” to his low-income minority neighbourhood, and to compare the abortionist’s filthy facilities with those of wealthier mills was elitist. He did not deny that Gosnell committed illegal late-term abortions, but insisted there was not enough physical evidence to convict Gosnell. McMahon also said that the prosecution exaggerated the squalor inside Gosnell’s abortion mill and to label it the “House of Horrors” was “the most extraordinary hype and exaggeration in the history of the criminal justice system.” “This is not a referendum on abortion,” he told the jury. “Abortion isn’t pretty … it’s not.  It’s bloody and it’s real.”

“Outside the mother, all things change. It is a human being and has to be treated as such,” said assistant district attorney Edward Cameron during the prosecution’s closing arguments. He recounted evidence indicating that Gosnell did not use Digoxin to kill the babies before snipping their spinal cords and imagined how the newborns must have felt when they were murdered by the abortionist. “My dog was treated better than he treated women and children,” Cameron said regarding his pet that had to be put down. He showed the jury the dirty equipment again and afterwards turned to Gosnell, asking him, “Are you human?” Then, pointing at Gosnell, he told the jury, “he’s the one in this case that doesn’t deserve to be called human.”

Gosnell was also found guilty of the involuntary manslaughter Karnamaya Mongar, conspiracy, racketeering, infanticide, and corrupt organization. Moreover, he was convicted of 21 out of 24 counts of felony for illegal abortions after Pennsylvania’s 24 week limit and 211 out of 227 misdemeanour counts for breaking informed consent law requiring women to be offered information about the procedure followed by a 24-hour waiting period.