WASHINGTON (BP) -- A Philadelphia jury has found Kermit Gosnell guilty of the first-degree murder of three babies killed outside the womb at his abortion clinic.
The jury returned the verdicts Monday afternoon (May 13) after deliberating for nearly two weeks. Among more than 250 charges, Gosnell faced four counts of first-degree murder of children who were born after induced delivery.
The panel also found Gosnell guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of a Virginia woman during an abortion. Prosecutors had brought a third-degree murder charge against the doctor in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41.
Gosnell, 72, could receive the death penalty for first-degree murder.
Pro-life organizations welcomed the verdicts. Anna Higgins, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity, said they bring "a just conclusion to a horrific case."
The jury returned to the courtroom with the verdicts after informing Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Minehart Monday morning they were deadlocked on two counts. Minehart encouraged the jurors to continue working, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Gosnell initially faced seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of viable babies outside the womb, but Minehart dropped three of the counts after the prosecution rested its case.
The trial began March 18, and the prosecution closed its case April 18 after five weeks of testimony, much of it from former Gosnell employees who recounted the killings of babies struggling for life outside the womb and the horrible conditions at the West Philadelphia clinic. Attorney Jack McMahon called no witnesses in Gosnell's defense.
The babies involved in the first-degree murder charges were only some of hundreds at least six months into gestation who were killed outside the womb after induced delivery at Gosnell's clinic, according to a 281-page grand jury report in 2011. Gosnell destroyed records for the others, the grand jury reported.
After delivery, Gosnell -- or another staff member -- would jab scissors into the back of a baby's neck and cut the spinal cord, witnesses and the grand jury reported. Gosnell called this method of killing "snipping."
Compiled by Tom Strode, Washington bureau chief for Baptist Press.
c. 2013 Baptist Press. Used with permission.
Publication date: May 14, 2013