By Dave Andrusko
Although I am not in Philadelphia waiting for the jury to come to its decision, my guess is we should be encouraged that the jury of seven women and five men asked to be reminded of the legal distinctions between first- and third-degree murder, manslaughter, and infanticide.
Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart explained that “first-degree murder involves the malicious premeditated killing of another human being,” the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Joseph Slobodzian reported. “Third-degree murder is a killing without premeditation but involving malice and a reckless disregard for the consequences of the killer’s acts. Involuntary manslaughter involves a death through recklessness or negligence but without premeditation or malice on the part of the killer.”
Last week the jury was given the case on Tuesday afternoon and deliberated roughly 23 hours before adjourning for the weekend. They resumed this morning.
Abortionist Kermit Gosnell is charged with so many counts it’s hard to keep track of them all. But the most weighty are four counts of first degree murder in the deaths of babies allegedly aborted alive and then murdered; and one count of third degree murder in the 2009 death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Monger, who died, according to prosecutors, because of an overdose of Demerol administered by Gosnell’s untrained and unsupervised staff.
According to Slobodzian, “Gosnell also faces 24 counts of performing abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week gestational age, 227 courts of performing abortions without the mandated 24-hour waiting period and racketeering and corrupt organizations.”
As you could have anticipated, there was an immediate dustup. Gosnell’s high-powered attorney, Jack McMahon, went ballistic over a special report that aired several times over the weekend– “Fox News Reporting: See No Evil – The Kermit Gosnell Case.”
McMahon first complained to the media. “It’s outrageous,” McMahon told reporters who had gathered to await a verdict Monday. “I’ve never seen anything so irresponsible in journalism,” the Washington Post reported. Brady Dennis added,
“After McMahon aired his complaints to Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart, the judge instructed jurors to notify his staff if any of them had seen or heard details of the show during the weekend. He also told them it should not factor into their decision-making.
“’It has nothing to do with this trial,’ Minehart told jurors late Monday morning, before sending them back to resume their deliberations.”
As of mid-afternoon, the Jury had not reached a verdict in Gosnell’s case, or in the case of his co-defendant Eileen O’Neill who is charged with six counts of theft by deception (she is accused of posing as a licensed doctor) that form the basis of racketeering and conspiracy counts for her alleged role in a “corrupt organization.”
Editor’s note. I had not seen this prior to this morning. It was sent out by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office and it nicely summarized the background to the murder trial. (Alas, I can’t tell the date other than that it was a while back.)
INVESTIGATION OF WOMEN’S MEDICAL SOCIETY
On January 19, 2011, a Grand Jury released findings of its investigation into criminal wrongdoing at the Women’s Medical Society, a clinic operated in West Philadelphia, at 38th Street and Lancaster Avenue by Kermit B. Gosnell, M.D. The investigation was launched after drug agents raided the clinic and learned of the death of an abortion patient who suffered cardiac arrest after Gosnell’s employees gave her lethal doses of narcotics.
Gosnell staffed his decrepit and unsanitary clinic entirely with unlicensed personnel, let them practice medicine on unsuspecting patients, unsupervised, and directed them to heavily drug patients in his absence. In addition, he regularly performed abortions beyond the 24-week limit prescribed by law. As a result, viable babies were born. Gosnell killed them by plunging scissors into their spinal cords. He taught his staff to do the same.
The Grand Jury issued a presentment recommending criminal charges against Gosnell and his employees, including charges of murder against Kermit Gosnell, Lynda Williams, Adrienne Moton, and Steven Massof for killing viable babies born alive at the clinic, and charges of conspiracy to commit murder against these persons and Sherry West. Gosnell will also be charged with infanticide and performing illegal late-term abortions. Charged as coconspirators are Williams, West, and Pearl Gosnell, his wife.
With respect to the death of Karnamaya Mongar, Kermit Gosnell, Lynda Williams, and Sherry West are charged with third-degree murder, drug delivery resulting in death, drug violations, and conspiracy. Gosnell operated a corrupt criminal enterprise, for which the Grand Jury recommended racketeering charges against Kermit Gosnell, Lynda Williams, Sherry West, Adrienne Moton, Maddline Joe, Tina Baldwin, Pearl Gosnell, Steven Massof, and Eileen O’Neill. Massof and O’Neill, who pretended to be doctors, will be charged with theft by deception and conspiracy, with Gosnell, to deceive patients. Gosnell and Massof are also charged with conspiracy and drug violations for illegally dispensing narcotics.
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