The Kermit Gosnell Case: Verdicts
On the tenth day of deliberations, a jury of Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s peers—including eight African-Americans—rejected the defense’s premise that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s case against Gosnell was a “racist, elitist prosecution.”
At 2:45pm yesterday, Sheriff Jewell Williams walked into the courtroom donning a small sheriff’s star on his blazer lapel. Several more sheriffs entered soon after, standing at attention at various points in the courtroom.
Williams—Jewell, not the D.A. Seth, who was did not make an appearance for the verdict–opened the door where 72-year-old Gosnell has been entering and exiting the courtroom on the third floor of the Criminal Justice Center for the last six weeks. Judge Jeffrey Minehart announced that, after having been ordered back to work out two charges the jury was hung on in the morning, the jury was ready to announce verdicts against both Gosnell and his co-defendant Eileen O’Neill.
Gosnell entered the courtroom with the usual curious smile on his lips. He glanced at the courtroom of approximately 45 observers (mostly reporters who apparently didn’t get the memo about a secret liberal media conspiracy to ignore the case), and sat down next to defense attorney Jack McMahon. Gosnell stuck his hand out to McMahon, who shook it as Gosnell clapped his back.
Verdicts for Eileen O’Neill were announced first. O’Neill, charged with corrupt organization, conspiracy for corrupt organization and theft by deception, is an intriguing character in the Gosnell saga. She is the only one of his employees to maintain her innocence and not take a plea. She whisked in and out of the courtroom ghost-like, often sitting at the defense table alone, shoulders curled forward, sometimes sobbing.
The jury foreman stood and announced the jury’s conclusions: O’Neill was found not guilty of corrupt organization but guilty of conspiracy of corrupt organization, and was found not guilty of four of six charges of theft by deception.
Next came the verdict for Gosnell. The disgraced doctor was found guilty of three counts of first-degree murder: the grand jury report identified these victims at Baby A, Baby C and Baby D.
Gosnell was found not guilty in the murder of Baby E.
(Homicide charges for Baby B, F and G were dropped during the trial due to insufficient evidence that they were alive outside of the womb before dying.)
Gosnell was also found guilty of one count of infanticide for Baby A. According to the grand jury, Pennsylvania law holds a two-year statute of limitation window on infanticide, which is perhaps why he was found guilty on only one charge. Gosnell is also found guilty on 21 of 24 counts of abortion performed past legal gestation date which, in Pennsylvania, is 24 weeks.
Whether or not Gosnell will face the death penalty for these charges will be decided in the penalty phase, which begins next Monday. The gag order issued in 2011 remains in effect until after the penalty phase is complete.
Gosnell was found not guilty of murder but guilty of involuntary manslaughter for Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old Bhutanese immigrant who died while undergoing an abortion at Gosnell’s clinic in 2009.
In total, Gosnell was found guilty of 237 crimes. After this trial, Gosnell still faces federal drug charges. He was walked out of the courthouse in a grey prison jumpsuit, still faintly smiling.