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Jury that convicted Gosnell bonded over the experience

Kermit Gosnell will spend his life in prison for killing babies; his jurors said he was driven by greed.

Sarah Glinski, a juror in the Dr. Kermit Gosnell abortion murder trial, is at the microphone talking with the press after Gosnell was sentenced May 15, 2013. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)
Sarah Glinski, a juror in the Dr. Kermit Gosnell abortion murder trial, is at the microphone talking with the press after Gosnell was sentenced May 15, 2013. (CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer)Read more

AFTER COMPLETING nearly two months of duty on the Kermit Gosnell murder trial, the 12 jurors did what people often do after bonding: They took pictures.

Before going their separate ways Wednesday, the seven women and five men snapped photos with one another, with Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart, with Assistant District Attorneys Edward Cameron and Joanne Pescatore and with Gosnell's feisty defense lawyer, Jack McMahon.

McMahon even gave out his business cards to the people who convicted his client of the first-degree murders of three babies born alive during abortion procedures at Gosnell's squalid West Philadelphia clinic.

"It was a tremendous experience, it was a good group of people," Cameron said Wednesday at a news conference after Gosnell was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences without parole or appeals. (He was convicted Monday and struck a deal with prosecutors Tuesday to avoid the death penalty.)

"I don't think anyone could be any prouder of what that jury did," Cameron added.

McMahon, who maintained that Gosnell was neither a monster nor a murderer, also praised the jurors, saying they worked hard during the 10 days of deliberating more than 260 charges.

But before the goodbye hugs and picture-taking, the jurors in courtroom 304 were confronted by pictures of another sort: aborted babies with fingers and toes and with mouths and eyes closed, as if asleep.

Deep gashes could be seen in their necks where Gosnell and his employees had used scissors to cut spinal cords.

"Obviously, it was emotionally tolling for everyone involved," said jury foreman David Misko, 27. "It wasn't easy, but we did the best we could with the information we got, and we went by the law on everything."

Misko, a health-care-industry employee who is single and has no children, said he and his fellow jurors got along well and never discussed their individual beliefs on abortion.

When asked for his views, Misko replied: "I can't tell a whole gender what to do."

Of Gosnell he was blunt and candid. "He's the worst case. He's the worst example of an abortion doctor in the world, obviously."

A major sticking point among the jurors centered around Baby C, said Sarah Glinski, 23, who is also single and has no children.

Prosecutors and a witness told the jurors that Baby C was moving for about 20 minutes before clinic worker Lynda Williams cut its spinal cord.

"We weren't sure if the movement that this baby made was a twitch or if it was indicative of life," said Glinski, a U.S. Department of Defense employee who said she is pro-choice.

Joseph Carroll, 46, recalled "heated discussions" over Baby C.

"There was movement but we didn't know if it was reflex action. But eventually, the law came down that if there is movement the baby was born alive," said Carroll, who declined to share his position on abortion.

Ultimately, the jurors found Gosnell guilty of murdering Baby C, as well as Babies A and D, the clinical-sounding way the prosecution referred to the unnamed victims.

Carroll said there was a lot of talk among the jurors about the mothers of the aborted babies, about whether they should have been charged criminally along with Gosnell and his nine employees.

"A lot of the discussion was the mothers, that it should be their fault too for such late-term babies. Women know when they're pregnant," said Carroll, a city Water Department employee who is single with two children.

"In my opinion, yes!" an adamant Carroll said when asked if he thought the mothers should have been charged.

In Pennsylvania, it is illegal for doctors to perform abortions after the 24th week of gestation. Gosnell was convicted of performing 21 such late-term abortions.

District Attorney Seth Williams said the mothers were not charged because the state's Abortion Control Act prohibits the prosecution of abortion patients.

Carroll said the jurors tried to determine what motivated Gosnell to systematically perform late-term abortions and commit the other crimes for which he was convicted.

They settled on "greed," he said.

"Most of us felt that the doctor, he probably started out good helping the community. But eventually, most of us thought it came down to a greed factor. The services were just like a machine."

At the time of his 2011 arrest, Gosnell owned multiple properties, including a beach home in Brigantine, and police found nearly $250,000 in cash stashed in his daughter's bedroom at his West Philadelphia home.

But had the deal not been struck Tuesday that ended the trial before the jury was asked if Gosnell should get death or a life sentence, the jury likely would have voted for life, Carroll said.

D.A. Williams confirmed that a poll of the jury on Wednesday indicated that the group would not have sent Gosnell to death row.

"I think we were all [in agreement] that Dr. Gosnell was an older gentleman," Carroll said, "and he would spend the rest of his life in prison anyhow."

Of the jury-duty experience, foreman Misko said: "I served with 11 very intelligent people. I'm very proud of the people that I worked with and I'm very proud of the decisions that we made as a group. I don't feel regret whatsoever."