Late-Term Abortion Doctor Convicted of Murder

     (CN) – A doctor who performed late-term abortions committed three counts of first-degree murder, a Philadelphia jury found Monday, nixing a fourth count.
     Prosecutors told The New York Times they will seek the death penalty when the trial moves into the sentencing phase on May 21.
     Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, of West Philadelphia, Pa., was arrested on Jan. 14, 2011, and charged with murdering seven late-term infants whom prosecutors said would have survived if they had not been given a drug designed to cause “fetal demise” and then been stabbed in the neck with scissors to ensure they were dead.
     Gosnell also faced a total of 256 related charges.
     Last month, Judge Jeffrey Minehart threw out three of the seven first-degree murder charges without explanation.
     During the trial, witnesses told sordid tales of abortions carried out Pennsylvania’s 24-week limit for such procedures and in squalid conditions with cats wandering throughout the facility.
     Throughout the five-week trial, employees of the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia told jurors some of the fetuses moved or whimpered prior to their death. One, identified as Baby D, was allegedly delivered into a toilet and appeared to attempt to swim before being killed by an assistant.
     According to the grand jury report , Gosnell’s patients were covered with bloodstained sheets and treated with unsterilized instruments.
     Among the items jurors viewed during the five-week trial was a dirty procedure table and a stained ultrasound probe, the Times said.
     The defense meanwhile argued there was no evidence any of the fetuses were born alive. It discounted descriptions of fetal movement as spasms, not evidence of life.
     After 10 days of deliberations, the jury found Gosnell guilty of the four first-degree murder chargers. Gosnell was acquitted of a fifth such charge and of third-degree murder in the death of a patient, but he was found guilty of a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter with regard to a 41-year-old patient.
     Gosnell was also found guilty on 21 of 24 counts of abortion of an unborn child of 24 weeks or more, and 208 of 227 counts of violation of informed consent of an abortion.
     The verdicts came hours after the jury told the judge they were deadlocked on two of the counts.
     Meeting with reporters after the verdict was announced, Jack McMahon, Gosnell’s attorney, reportedly described his client as “disappointed” and “upset.”
     He went on to say, however that the jury “obviously took their job seriously. The verdict should be respected based on their effort.”
     According to the NBC-TV affiliate in Philadelphia, no decision has been made as to whether Gosnell will testify during the penalty phase of the trial. He did testify during the trial’s first phase.

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