Prosecutors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania announced today they will seek the death penalty for abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who faces charges related to killing a woman in a botched abortion and killing babies in infanticides.
Gosnell was charged along with several family members and staffers who worked at his abortion center and were involved in either the failed abortion, the infanticides (which number in the hundreds but for which Gosnell and company have been charged on seven counts), or in relation to covering up and crimes and hiding obstructing justice.
Assistant District Attorneys Joanne Pescatore and Christine Wechsler confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper that they are looking at pursuing the death penalty related to Gosnell and former Gosnell employees Lynda Williams, Steven Massof and Adrienne Moton. The three are accused of assisting Gosnell in the infanticide “abortions” where unborn children late in pregnancy were purposefully birthed in order to kill them by using medical scissors to “snip” their spinal cords.
Gosnell himself will likely face a potential death penalty as the prosecutors notified his attorney, Jack McMahon, that they will seek death by lethal injection if a jury finds Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in the counts he faces. Gosnell faces a third-degree murder charge related to the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar from a botched abortion Gosnell performed. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor.
Tasha Jamerson, spokeswoman for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams indicated prosecutors will file formal notice today that they are considering seeking the death penalty but it is not a final decision that the death penalty will be pursued. Although the state of Pennsylvania has 217 death-penalty convictions on record, no one since Gary Heidnik in 1999 has been executed under the state law, according to Fox News.
Gosnell plead not guilty today at the arraignment hearing, where Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, called the death penalty pursuit a waste.
“I mean the last execution in Pennsylvania was in 1999 for somebody who wanted it, so the reality of a 70-year-old man actually getting it isn’t a reality — again it’s in name only,” he said.
The family of the woman Gosnell killed has filed a civil lawsuit against him and against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages and a judge recently declaredGosnell could not sell his homes and other assets to avoid paying out if he loses the case. Gosnell made millions in the abortion industry and currently holds properties valued “in the millions,” according to Fox News, including a nice second home in Brigantine, New Jersey valued at $900,000.
However, the prosecutors told the newspaper they are negotiating with defense attorneys for the three Gosnell associates to postpone a final decision on potentially pursuing the death penalty for 60 days while both sides present more evidence and support their cases.
“We didn’t know enough and they might want to tell us more things,” Pescatore told the paper, adding that the 60-day delay should not be interpreted as the prosecution negotiating a plea bargain with defense lawyers.
The comments, the Philadelphia paper said, followed the arraignment of Gosnell and his associates, including his wife Pearl and eight total staffers at the abortion center, the Women’s Medical Society. Only two of the staffers, Tina Baldwin and Madeline Joe appeared in person at the arraignment as they are the only ones free on bail.
Yesterday, Delaware officials suspended one of the Delaware abortion practitioners associated with Gosnell, who also worked one day a week at the Atlantic Women’s Medical Services abortion business.
The abortion industry has been forced to suspend two abortion businesses that employed embattled abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell, who has been the subject of national controversy over his abortion business in Philadelphia.
Following revelations that Gosnell is associatedwith two other abortion centers in Louisiana and Delaware, the National Abortion Federation made the decision to suspend the memberships of both. Atlantic Women’s Medical Services, the Delaware abortion business that employed Gosnell one day a week to do abortions, and the Delta Clinic abortion center of Baton Rouge, have both had their memberships suspended. Leroy Brinkley owns both abortion businesses. Atlantic operates abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.
Delaware law does not require inspections of abortion centers but Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden said his office will launch a “wide-ranging” investigation of Gosnell and probe his work at the Delaware abortion facility given the vast problems at his Pennsylvania abortion center.
Gosnell has been charged with eight counts of murder and several of his staff at the abortion center, including his wife and sister-in-law, have been charged as well in the case with assisting in botched abortions, practicing medicine without a license or covering up the actions of those who did. The counts include grisly infanticides that involved Gosnell snipping the spines with scissors of babies who had purposefully been prematurely born so they could be killed moments later.
Authorities searching the facility last year found bags and bottles holding aborted babies scattered around the building, jars containing babies’ severed feet lining a shelf, as well as filthy, unsanitary furniture and equipment.
The grand jury investigation also shows state officials did nothingwhen reports came in about problems at Gosnell’s abortion center, which has upset incoming pro-life Governor Tom Corbett who fired several state employees.