Abortionist Gosnell, charged with 8 murders, faces trial

Posted: March 05, 2013

MORE THAN three years after his filthy, blood-soaked West Philadelphia abortion clinic was raided by the FBI and city law enforcers, Kermit Barron Gosnell is set to stand trial on eight counts of murder and dozens of related counts.

Prosecutors contend that Gosnell, 72, committed first-degree murder by delivering seven babies in the 6th through 8th months of pregnancy, then cutting their spinal cords with scissors. He committed third-degree murder, the prosecutors said, by prescribing the drugs that killed a woman following a 2009 abortion.

Gosnell, who is jailed without bail and may face the death penalty, is scheduled to be in a Philadelphia courtroom Monday for the start of jury selection.

The selection process could take weeks, but could be scrapped if Gosnell chooses to instead enter a guilty plea or if the trial is postponed, as is often the case.

Also scheduled to stand trial is Eileen O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, who was an employee at Gosnell's now-shuttered "house of horrors" Women's Medical Society clinic.

Charged with nine counts of theft by deception for allegedly working as a doctor despite lacking a medical license and certification, O'Neill is Gosnell's lone co-defendant out of nine who chose not to take a plea deal.

Gosnell, a lifelong Philadelphian, ran his Lancaster Avenue clinic for nearly four decades, earning millions despite being repeatedly reported to health and licensing officials for shoddy and dangerous practices.

But the gig was up after the Feb. 18, 2010, raid, which followed the death of the patient during a late-term abortion and reports that the doctor was operating a prescription-drug mill.

The grand jury report that led to Gosnell's indictment stated: "The search team discovered fetal remains haphazardly stored throughout the clinic - in bags, milk jugs, orange juice cartons and even in cat-food containers. Some fetal remains were in a refrigerator, others were frozen."

Gosnell, represented by defense attorney Jack McMahon, has thus far maintained his innocence.

His wife, Pearl, 52, pleaded guilty in December 2011 to performing late-term abortions and related counts. Seven other clinic employees have also pleaded guilty to crimes ranging from third-degree murder to corruption of minors.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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