After four days of deliberations, the jury has not yet reached a verdict in the case of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the abortion provider accused of killing a patient and four babies who prosecutors say were born alive and killed with scissors.
Gosnell, 72, who ran the Women’s Medical Society in West Philadelphia, which served mostly low-income women and teens and went years without a state inspection, has been in custody since his 2011 arrest.
The jury includes several transit authority bus drivers, a water department inspector, a day care worker and a bank teller. They have been deliberating since Tuesday afternoon.
Gosnell could face the death penalty if found guilty of killing the four live babies with scissors.
At the end of the trial, both the prosecutor and defense attorney asked the jurors to show “courage” after the seven-week trial that both transfixed and horrified the nation.
In addition to the four counts of first-degree murder in the infant deaths, Gosnell also faces one count of third-degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 24 counts of performing abortions past Pennsylvania’s 24-week gestational age, 227 counts of performing abortions without giving the woman the mandated 24-hour waiting period, and other counts involving racketeering and operating a “corrupt organization.”
In addition, Eileen O’Neill, 56, an unlicensed doctor who worked in the family-practice section of Gosnell’s clinic, faces counts of theft by deception and participating in a corrupt organization. O’Neill has been free on bail since her arrest.
The jury deliberations were expected to be lengthy as the jurors have to work their way through the 30 pages of charges, deliberating on each one.
Gosnell’s defense attorney, John “Jack” McMahon, asked the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas jury to stand up to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, accusing the prosecutors of exaggerating, intimidating and abusing their power in a racist and elitist prosecution against Gosnell, a black doctor serving a poor community.
“We know why he was targeted,” McMahon told the jury, which is almost evenly divided between blacks and whites. “If you don’t see it, you are living in some sort of la-la land.”
“I want you to have the courage to say ‘no’ to the government,” he said.
McMahon didn’t call a single witness to the stand, instead giving an impassioned, 2 1/2-hour closing argument refuting the prosecution’s evidence and once again claiming that the infants were not killed. He said they were already dead after Gosnell administered the drug Digoxin, which can cause abortion.
McMahon accused prosecutors of “the most extraordinary hype and exaggeration in the history of the criminal justice system.”
“These are desperate, young girls who were in trouble. But he provided these desperate, young girls with relief,” McMahon said.