Gosnell jury deadlocked on two charges
UPDATE (3:15 Eastern): Gosnell found guilty of first-degree murder on three of the four charges. The Atlantic Wire reported that Gosnell was found guilty on three of the four first-degree murder charges. The Associated Press reported that Gosnell was acquitted on the fourth charge. Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of a patient. Prosecutors are reportedly seeking the death penalty.
The jury in the murder trial of abortion provider Kermit Gosnell told Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart on Monday it had reached an impasse on two of the 268 criminal counts against him.
WCAU-TV reported that aside from the two unspecified charges, the jury has reached a unanimous verdict in the case on its 10th day of deliberations. Following a five-minute meeting, Mineheart instructed the jury of seven women and five men to resume their discusssion.
The 72-year-old doctor is accused of four counts of first-degree murder for allegedly delivering four children during abortion proceedings then killing them by cutting their spinal cords with scissors. He also faces one count of third-degree murder in connection with the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a former patient who allegedly died on an overdose of pain killers and anesthesia administered by his staff.
The majority of the charges against Gosnell involve violations of a Pennsylvania state law prohibiting late-term abortions without providing counseling to patients at least 24 hours before the procedure. Authorities first became aware of the alleged malpractice at his clinic following a February 2010 raid that uncovered unsanitary conditions, untrained staff and aborted fetuses stored in plastic food containers alongside employees’ lunches.
The jury is also deliberating on charges against 56-year-old co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, who is accused of posing as a licensed physician while working at Gosnell’s clinic and billing patients and insurance companies for her services. Her attorney has argued that there is no evidence she charged for her practice, and that Gosnell signed off on her prescriptions before she gave them to patients.
Update, 2:36 p.m. EST: WCAU reported that the jury has reached a verdict. This story will be updated when the verdict is made public.
Update, 4:48 p.m. Eastern: NARAL Pro-Choice America released a statement following Gosnell’s verdit. “Justice was served to Kermit Gosnell today and he will pay the price for the atrocities he committed. We hope that the lessons of the trial do not fade with the verdict. Anti-choice politicians, and their unrelenting efforts to deny women access to safe and legal abortion care, will only drive more women to back-alley butchers like Kermit Gosnell,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said in a statement.
“From the lack of funding available for low-income women to access abortion services, to the sharp decline of reputable providers in Pennsylvania, to the gross negligence of authorities to enforce the law after complaints were filed against Gosnell, each aspect of this case must be a teachable moment for lawmakers: until we reject the politicization of women’s medical care and leave these decisions where they belong — between a woman and her family and her doctor — women will never be safe. The horrifying story of Kermit Gosnell is a peek into the world before Roe v. Wade made legal a woman’s right to make her own choices.”
[Image via PBS NewsHour]