Appeals Court grants new trial to Co-Defendant of abortionist Kermit Gosnell

 

By Dave Andrusko

Eileen O'Neill outside court during the trial (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Eileen O’Neill outside court during the trial (ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

NRL News Today readers may remember that Eileen O’Neill was the only one of nine employee of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell not to cut a deal with prosecutors, and as a result she was a co-defendant when Gosnell went to trial. When last we wrote about O’Neill, she had just successfully thrown herself on the mercy of the court.

Some background. O’Neill was not directly involved with Gosnell’s hideous abortion traffic at the Women’s Medical Society. She was on trial for fraud and conspiracy charges involving her work as an unlicensed physician at Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic, largely dealing with geriatric patients.

In May 2013, a jury found her guilty of two counts of theft by deception and two counts of conspiracy.

But in July, citing the health condition of O’Neill’s mother, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart sentenced her to 6-23 months of house arrest followed by two years probation.

However the Associated Press reported today that O’Neill is about to get a new trial. “The Pennsylvania Superior Court says O’Neill should have been granted a separate trial,” rather than being tried with Gosnell, who is serving three consecutive life sentences for delivering babies alive and then killing them by sticking scissors into the back of their necks and cutting their spinal cords.

“An appeals court says the disturbing evidence about babies being killed at Gosnell’s clinic unfairly prejudiced co-defendant Eileen O’Neill,” the AP reported.

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Joseph A. Slobodzian, who did the best reporting on Gosnell, explained that Judge “Minehart made it clear O’Neill would have gone to prison were she not sole caretaker for her seriously ill mother, Corrine White, with whom she lives in Phoenixville.” Minehart added, “You have to serve some form of punishment, but I don’t think it has to be at the expense of your mother.”

But there was much more to O’Neill, as the Associated Press’ MaryClaire Dale made clear (Dale also did some brilliant reporting on the trial). Dale wrote

“O’Neill, a former paralegal, attended medical school in Texas, but was then kicked out of a Louisiana State University residency program after she performed a botched abortion on a mentally disabled teenager, Assistant Philadelphia District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said. The procedure left the girl with a permanent colostomy bag, she said.

“O’Neill performed the abortion while moonlighting at a clinic linked to one in Delaware where Gosnell worked.

“O’Neill finished her family practice residency at Reading Hospital, then made her way to Gosnell’s clinic, the Women’s Medical Society, in West Philadelphia.”

At trial Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said she was “sick and tired” of O’Neill always “playing the victim.”

“She knew what she was doing and she knew what was going on in that place,” Pescatore argued. “How could you not know what was going on there? You’d have to be deaf, dumb, blind and stupid!”