Gosnell jurors told: 227 separate verdicts needed
A Philadelphia jury is to resume its apparently methodical analysis of the case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Friday after learning the task ahead may be bigger than it thought.
A Philadelphia jury is to resume its apparently methodical analysis of the case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Friday after learning that the task ahead may be bigger than it thought.
Among the long list of charges against Gosnell, 72, are 227 counts of violating the state's 24-hour waiting period before a woman can have an abortion.
Late Thursday, the Common Pleas Court jury of seven women and five men asked if an earlier stipulation involving medical records for those abortions meant it could return one mass verdict.
No, said Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart. Defense and prosecution lawyers stipulated only that the 227 records were from the Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia.
Minehart said the jury must reach separate verdicts on each of the 227 counts.
The faces of several jurors fell at Minehart's words, and the jury called it a day soon afterward.
The jurors spent most of Thursday listening as the testimony of Gosnell employee Adrienne Moton was read back to them.
Moton, 36, testified March 19, the trial's second day. And, like the testimony of clinic worker Lynda Williams - read back Wednesday - Moton provided what could be crucial evidence on two of the first-degree murder counts against Gosnell.
Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder: babies allegedly born alive during illegal late-term abortions and killed by Gosnell or staff.
The four counts are unusual. Unlike other murder trials, this jury must first decide whether the babies were born alive.
Expert testimony based on the autopsies was inconclusive. Therefore, the jury must decide whether it believes employees like Moton and Williams, who pleaded guilty in hopes of leniency at sentencing.
Gosnell also faces a count of third-degree murder in the 2009 death of an abortion patient allegedly overdosed on Demerol by Gosnell's untrained staff.
Codefendant Eileen O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, is charged with working as an unlicensed doctor in Gosnell's family practice.