UPDATE: Dr. Kermit Gosnell on Tuesday agreed to wave all of his appellate rights and will serve life in prison without the possibility or parole. He was sentenced for two of the three murders Tuesday and will be sentenced on the remaning charges Wednesday morning.
ON THE 10TH DAY of deliberating the fate of West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia jury yesterday found him guilty of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies, called Babies A, C and D.
Gosnell, 72, showed no emotion as the jury foreman read the verdict in a Common Pleas courtroom filled with dozens of journalists.
The jury of seven women and five men had gone home early Friday, telling the judge they needed a break. Shortly after 11 a.m. yesterday, they reported that they were deadlocked on two counts.
As a result, many observers were caught off-guard when word started to filter throughout the courtroom about 2 p.m. that a verdict was coming.
None of the anti-abortion activists who had traveled from Washington, D.C., North Jersey and even the Midwest to attend parts of the trial was on hand for the reading of the verdict.
One female juror appeared to be crying.
Gosnell also was convicted of 21 of 24 counts of performing illegal late-term abortions, and 211 of 227 counts of violating the state's 24-hour waiting period before performing abortions.
In addition, he was found guilty of hundreds of other charges, including:
* Infanticide on Baby A;
* Conspiracy on Babies C and D;
* Running a corrupt organization, a racketeering charge;
* Conspiracy to commit corrupt organizations;
* Conspiracy abortion beyond 24 weeks;
* Conspiracy informed-consent violations.
Co-defendant Eileen O'Neill, 56, an unlicensed doctor who worked for Gosnell, was convicted of conspiracy, racketeering and two counts of theft by deception. Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart allowed her to remain free on bail until she is sentenced July 15.
McMahon said that he did not regret not putting Gosnell on the witness stand but that he may do so during the penalty hearing.
Speaking with reporters after leaving the courthouse yesterday, McMahon thanked the jurors for their work and said he respected their decisions, although he said he was disappointed. He said that Gosnell was "nothing but a gentleman" over the course of the trial. Asked to describe Gosnell's state of mind, McMahon replied: "Disappointed and upset."
The District Attorney's Office declined to comment, citing a gag order on attorneys and jurors imposed by Minehart.
Word of the conviction drew praise from anti-abortion organizations across the country.
"Even as we celebrate this verdict, we honor and mourn as well those innocents who did not receive their day in court - and we must remember that Gosnell is not an outlier within the abortion industry," said Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, a nonprofit anti-abortion group based in Arlington, Va.
"Gosnell is not an aberration within the abortion industry," echoed Ashley McGuire of the Catholic Association, a Washington-based religious organization. "We call on Congress to investigate all abortion centers and protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us."
Gosnell and nine employees of his now-closed Women's Medical Society clinic were arrested following a Jan. 19, 2011, grand-jury investigation and report that documented rampant wrongdoing inside a "filthy," "deplorable" facility.
The grand jury was convened after a Feb. 18, 2010, FBI and police raid triggered by tips that Gosnell also had turned his clinic into a "pill mill" where he made perhaps millions of dollars illegally selling prescriptions for painkillers including Oxycontin.
During the raid, officials found 47 fetuses in bags and plastic drinking bottles in the basement and in freezers.
McMahon told the trial jury of seven women and five men that Gosnell was not guilty of murdering the four babies because they were born dead as a result of an abortion drug. He called the drug-overdose death of patient Mongar, 41, an accident.
During the trial - which began March 18 with fiery opening statements from the both prosecution and defense - the jury saw a parade of former Gosnell employees and patients who recounted witnessing or participating in the gore and criminality that led prosecutors to dub the clinic a "House of Horrors."
They spoke of seeing babies born with chests moving up and down, moving limbs - and even, in one case, an alien-like cry.
Of the nine former employees arrested with Gosnell, eight pleaded guilty before the trial started, and six of those defendants testified for the prosecution. (Here's a timeline of the case from beginning to end.)
First up was Adrienne Moton, 35, who spent four years in Gosnell's employ helping with abortions despite having only a high-school education.
Moton, of Upper Darby, cried when she recalled "Baby A," as the child was called in court. Born in July 2008 to a 17-year-old mother in the 29th week of pregnancy, the baby looked viable, said Moton, who took a picture of the child.
"I just felt he could have had a chance," she said. "He could have been born any day."
Baby A's mother, Shayquana Abrams, 21, of Chester, testified that the abortion she underwent left her hospitalized for two weeks with a blood clot to the heart, a grapefruit-size abscess and continuing bouts of fatigue, headaches and shortness of breath.
"I never felt pain like that before," the woman said, weeping on the witness stand.
Defendant Steven Massof, an unlicensed medical doctor, testified about "fetuses and blood" littering the abortion clinic where he, Gosnell and other employees routinely snipped the spinal cords of babies born alive.
"It is literally a beheading," Massof, 50, of Pittsburgh, testified. "It is separating the brain from the body."
Former clinic employee Kareema Cross, 28, who was not charged in the case, testified that she saw 10 babies breathing and five babies moving before they were killed.
The former medical assistant said she was so appalled by Gosnell's ghoulish practices and the rundown condition of his clinic that she began taking pictures of the facility and eventually reported him to federal authorities.
Defendant Lynda Williams, 44, of Wilmington, Del., testified that Gosnell told her it was "standard procedure" to cut the necks of babies, and he taught her how to do it.
"It gave me the creeps," said Williams, who pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder for the deaths of a baby and Mongar.
When a baby moved, she said, Gosnell explained it as an "involuntary movement - last breath."
Coincidentally, yesterday's verdict came exactly 28 years after another notorious West Philadelphia story made news around the world - the city's May 13, 1985, bombing of the MOVE compound on Osage Avenue, which started a fire that killed 11 people and destroyed 65 homes.