The jury has found Kermit Gosnell guilty on three charges of first-degree murder of babies, according to reporter J. D. Mullane, and not guilty of a fourth murder charge. (Details on those murder charges here.) Judge Jeffrey Minehart had earlier dismissed three other first-degree murder charges against Gosnell.
Gosnell was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of patient Karnamaya Mongar and convicted of numerous lesser charges, including multiple counts of violating Pennsylvania’s informed consent law and twenty-one counts of abortion of unborn babies over twenty-four weeks gestation.
The verdict follows ten days of deliberations and roughly six weeks of courtroom testimony about the more than two hundred criminal charges against him.
According to background information from LifeNews, Gosnell could face the death penalty, which prosecutors are pursuing
when a second jury is impaneled “to determine sentencing under the penalty phase of the trial.” Update: reports vary about whether the same jury will reconvene to decide the sentence or whether a new jury will be impaneled. Either way, the sentencing phase will begin next Tuesday, May 21.
At minimum, according to Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, Gosnell will receive three life sentences to jail. Robert George last month urged pro-lifers to request that Gosnell’s life be spared in the event of his conviction.
The courtroom today was packed, according to journalist Steve Volk, in contrast to the earlier stages of the trial when few media outlets sent reporters. Volk added that Gosnell heard the verdict passively, while one prosecutor reportedly sobbed.
Gosnell’s defense attorney, according to CNN, claimed in his closing argument that “none of the infants was killed; rather . . . they were already dead as a result of Gosnell administering the drug Digoxin, which can cause abortion.”
Co-defendant Eileen O’Neill, who worked with Gosnell, was found guilty of conspiracy and theft by deception but not guilty of five other charges. Prosecutors said she “deceived patients and insurance companies by pretending to be a licensed physician and billing for those services.”
NBC reports that the twelve jury members, seven women and five men, all “said they were either pro-choice or had no opinion” about abortion. Following the verdict, J. D. Mullane reports, Gosnell attorney Jack McMahon asked that all jurors be polled; each affirmed the verdict “in [a] strong voice.”
While the prosecution had more than fifty witnesses testify, Gosnell himself never took the stand during the arguments, and McMahon “did not call either fact or character witnesses for his client.” Afterwards McMahon told reporters, “We had a chance to put out our issues, and a jury has spoken, and we respect that verdict.”
During the trial McMahon had said to jurors, “abortion—as is any surgical procedure—isn’t pretty. It’s bloody. It’s real. But you have to transcend that.”
Lengthy coverage of the trial and courtroom arguments is available from the Associated Press here.
While pro-life activists can be grateful for the conviction of Kermit Gosnell, some abortion clinics with similarly disturbing records remain fully operational.