Abortion doctor's jury has questions but reaches no verdict

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Eileen O'Neill, co-defendant in the case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Eileen O'Neill, co-defendant in the case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.
Posted: May 05, 2013

THE JURORS in the Kermit Gosnell capital-murder trial ended a fourth day of deliberating yesterday without reaching a verdict, but they indicated that they had begun to focus on the doctor's charges after spending several days dealing with his co-defendant's.

The panel of seven women and five men is scheduled to continue deliberations Monday morning. Gosnell, 72, is charged with more than 250 crimes, including the first-degree murders of four fetuses allegedly born alive then killed at his West Philadelphia abortion clinic. Gosnell could face a death-penalty hearing if the jury convicts him of any of the first-degree-murder charges.

Yesterday, jurors asked their first questions about testimony and evidence pertaining to Gosnell.

Since the panel began to deliberate on Tuesday, its focus has been on Gosnell's co-defendant, Eileen O'Neill, given that all of the questions were about testimony and witnesses related to her case.

O'Neill, 56, of Phoenixville, is charged with six counts of theft by deception and related offenses for working as a doctor without a license at Gosnell's clinic, the Women's Medical Society.

But shortly after 10 a.m. Friday, the jurors asked Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart for the definition of the charge "racketeering" - which Gosnell and O'Neill have been charged with.

They also asked for a list of medical drugs found at the clinic, and for clarifying details about the four fetuses Gosnell is accused of murdering. In court, they are known as babies A, C, D and E.

In addition, the jurors asked for copies of both death certificates that Assistant Medical Examiner Gary Collins wrote for Karnamaya Mongar, the woman who died of a drug overdose in November 2009 following an abortion at Gosnell's clinic.

The first certificate listed her death as an "accident," while the second certificate - issued some 13 months later - listed the cause of death as a "homicide."

Gosnell is charged with third-degree murder in Mongar's death. His attorney, Jack McMahon, told the jury during the trial that Collins changed the cause of death because he was afraid to stand up to the prosecution's "tsunami" of hype, lies and racism directed at Gosnell, who is black.

The jury also asked for the definition of "conspiracy" and how that charge related to other charges.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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