Gosnell Found Guilty Of 1st-Degree Murders Of 3 Babies - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Gosnell Found Guilty Of 1st-Degree Murders Of 3 Babies

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PHILADELPHIA -

It was a shocking turn of events Monday for Dr. Kermit Gosnell.  The physician who practiced for four decades left the Criminal Justice Center in a prison jumpsuit and chains.

The 72-year-old abortion provider appeared stunned as he slowly walked to the van that would drive him back to prison.

About an hour earlier, a jury found him guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies at his West Philadelphia clinic.

He was also found guilty of one count of involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient as well as one count of infanticide.

Prosecutors told the jury Gosnell routinely snipped the backs of babies' necks after they were born during late-term abortion procedures. He was convicted Monday of doing so twice himself.

In the third killing, Gosnell was accused of ordering employees at his clinic to do so.

Gosnell faced more than 260 charges in all. Of those, he faced 227 counts of violating an informed consent measure for abortion, meaning you're supposed to get 24 hours to think about it before going through with it. Gosnell was found guilty of all but 16 counts.

And he faced 24 counts of performing an abortion beyond 24 weeks. He was found guilty of all but three of those.

Monday marked the tenth day of deliberations. Jurors left early Friday, telling the judge they were drained one hour before they were supposed to be dismissed early, apparently because they couldn't bear another hour.

The jurors had spent part of the week having hard-to-listen-to testimony from some of Gosnell's clinic worker read back to them.

Two workers testified that some of the babies appeared to be alive, making sounds or showing movement. Gosnell's lawyer insisted that was medically impossible. But the images were extremely difficult to discount.

On Monday morning, jurors said they were split on two of the counts. Exactly which ones was not specified. The judge ordered them to go back and deliberate some more, which they did for almost three hours before word of a verdict came.

Before the verdict was read, FOX 29's Claudia Gomez reported that the judge ordered everyone to stay in the courtroom until the jury's complete verdict was disclosed.

Gomez said she was in the front row and watching Gosnell: "As the jury foreman read out loud 'guilty' on the first three counts or first-degree murder, you could see Dr. Gosnell lean back a little bit, and he seemed quite surprised. And he kept sort of blowing out air. He seemed a little bit stunned."

Then, the lawyers had the jury polled to make sure it was a unanimous verdict.

"And as each juror stood up and said 'guilty,' that they agree with the vote, you could see, again, the doctor seemed surprised, he was shaking his head 'no' several times, almost imperceptibly," Gomez added. "... At one point it almost seemed like he was going to start crying before they led him out of the courtroom."

There was one co-defendant in the case. Eileen O'Neill, a medical school graduate who worked as a doctor at Gosnell's practice, although the was not licensed to practice, was found guilty of four lesser counts. They were conspiracy and theft by deception counts for performing work on patients without a license.

O'Neill was never accused of performing abortions or taking part in what happened afterward.

So, the jury said load and clear with its verdict that it agreed with the prosecution on the vast majority of the charges.

Jurors have been released for the day, but the panel will have to come back one week from Tuesday for the penalty phase, during which they'll decide whether or not to give Gosnell the death penalty.

O'Neill will be sentenced on July 15. She is currently on house arrest.

A gag order issued by the judge in this case remains in effect through the penalty phase. The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office refrained from commenting, as a result.

But Gosnell's attorney, Jack McMahon, did speak outside court.

"Obviously, the jury has spoken and we respect that verdict," McMahon said.

McMahon admitted that the defense team felt for much of the case a little bit like "what salmon must feel like swimming upstream."

For the many who believe Kermit Gosnell is evil, his lawyer tried to counter with this: "He (Gosnell) thanked me very much for my effort, and that, to me, says a lot about him before any verdict is heard."

McMahon went on to later say, "I have confidence in the jury system and the people that take their job very seriously."

Stay with FOX 29 News and MyFOXPhilly.com for more on this breaking news story.

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