Abortion clinic deaths jury split on 2 counts
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jurors in the murder trial of a longtime Philadelphia abortion provider said Monday that they were divided on two of the more than 200 counts in the case, but the judge asked them to try again to reach a unanimous verdict.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, is accused of killing a patient and four babies allegedly born alive and then killed with scissors at his clinic in a rundown West Philadelphia neighborhood.
He also faces racketeering and conspiracy charges, and hundreds of counts alleging he performed illegal, third-trimester abortions or failed to counsel women.
It’s not clear which two counts have divided jurors. Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart asked the panel to try to reach a unanimous verdict. The jury has been weighing the more than 200 counts in the case for 10 days.
Judges can eventually take a partial verdict and leave prosecutors to decide whether to retry the unresolved counts.
Prosecutors put on about five weeks of testimony, and co-defendant and former clinic employee Eileen O’Neill called several witnesses.
Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, did not call either fact or character witnesses for his client. McMahon instead attacked the prosecution witnesses during cross-examination, and argued in closings that the babies were killed in the womb with an abortion drug. He said the patient, 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar of Woodbridge, Va., died of medical complications.
Gosnell ran the Women’s Medical Society for more than 30 years until the FBI shut it down after a 2010 raid focused on his high-volume business distributing painkiller prescriptions. Authorities instead stumbled upon abortions under way late at night amid allegedly filthy conditions and found 47 aborted fetuses stored in refrigerators at the clinic.