The jury in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell wants to review testimony from Lynda Williams, who has also been charged with murder for “snipping” babies’ necks.
Gosnell is charged with four counts of first-degree murder for killing babies following delivery in an abortion process that involved “snipping” their necks and spinal cords. He also faces a third-degree murder charge related to the death of a woman, Karnamaya Mongar, 41, of Virginia, from a botched legal abortion. Gosnell, who has been in jail since his January 2011 arrest.
The abortionist faces 258 counts total and other charges against him include one count of infanticide and one of racketeering, 24 counts of performing third-trimester abortions and 227 counts of failing to follow the 24-hour waiting period law before an abortion so women can consider its risks and alternatives.
Now, the jury wants to review testimony from Williams, a worker at the Kermit Gosnell “House of Horrors’ abortion clinic testified today she saw a baby “jump” when she snipped her neck in an abortion. As local reporter J.D. Mullane tweeted:
#Gosnell jury asks to review testimony of Lynda Williams, charged with snipping babies’ necks, specif “Baby C” at W Phila abortion clinic.
— jdmullane (@jdmullane) May 7, 2013
Williams previously told the jury about how a baby “jumped” when she killed the newborn by snipping the neck.
A second Delaware woman who worked at Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic testified today that it was “standard procedure” to snip the necks of any babies that were delivered by patients before the abortion procedure due to labor-inducing drugs.
And Lynda Williams, 44, of Wilmington, said Gosnell taught her how to flip the body of the baby over and snip its neck with a pair of scissors and recalled one time when she followed these orders and saw the child move.
“It jumped, the arm,” she said, showing the jury by raising her arm.
Earlier she testified, “I only do what I’m told to do … what I was told to do was snip their neck.”
Much like former employee Sherry West who testified Monday, Williams initially said she could not remember key details and had to be reminded by prosecutors showing her copies of her earlier statements to investigators. When Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore initially pressed Williams to describe what she saw when she cut the neck of the child, Williams responded with a blank stare and silence.
Williams also responded the same way when asked about seeing Gosnell cut the necks of babies who were delivered before abortion procedures, admitting after reviewing earlier statements that she had seen Gosnell do this at least 30 times.
Williams testified earlier that she had only gotten as far as eighth grade in school and never graduated. Before working for Gosnell at his Women’s Medical Society Clinic in West Philadelphia, Williams had worked for 10 years at the now-closed Atlantic Women’s Medical Services abortion clinic in Wilmington, where Gosnell worked part-time.
Williams said she was diagnosed as bipolar in 2007 after her husband was killed and left her job at Atlantic, where she sterilized instruments, shortly thereafter and went to work for Gosnell in November 2008.
If sentenced for the convictions, Gosnell could face the death penalty following the convictions by the jury in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia.
Under Pennsylvania law, all 12 of the jurors must reach a unanimous verdict on any of the murder counts Gosnell faces for him to be convicted on any of them. Each of the elements of a charged crime must be proven to each juror beyond reasonable doubt for that juror to vote to convict on that count and one reluctant juror could lead to a mistrial on any of the first-degree murder charges.
Since prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty in the case, the jury will only be deciding whether Gosnell is guilty related to the charges. If convicted, a second jury will be impaneled to determine sentencing under the penalty phase of the trial. During this phase, the judge has already instructed jurors to only consider guilt or innocence.
Given the number of charges Gosnell faces, and the fact that Gosnell has a co-defendant the jury is considering for conviction as well, the jury make take a longer period of time to arrive at a verdict on each of the 250-plus charges.
Most of the focus in the murder trial of abortion practitioner Kermit Gosnell is on the murder charges he faces for killing babies in abortion-infanticides and for killing a woman in a botched abortion.
But Gosnell faces more than 200 charges related to violating Pennsylvania state law that requires him to provide women with informed consent 24 hours prior to the abortion. Gosnell is charged with breaking that law by not giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives 24 hours prior to the abortion.
Eight other defendants who are former staffers of Gosnell’s Philadelphia abortion clinic have pleaded guilty to a variety of charges and are awaiting sentencing.
Previously, the judge in the case reinstated one of the murder charges and dropped another. Gosnell’s defense attorney asked the judge to drop three of the charges for killing the babies and the judge agreed with the contention there was not enough evidence to convict Gosnell on those charges. Another charge of infanticide was also dropped.
One of the dropped charges involved a 28-week-old baby Gosnell killed and whose remains were kept in an abortion clinic freezer.
Common pleas court Judge Jeffrey Minehart also dropped five counts of corpse abuse at the request of his defense attorney and did not explain his ruling dropping any of the charges.
The defense had argued that there were no live births at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Center abortion clinic and contends the babies died during abortions and their necks were snipped afterwards. But former Gosnell staffers testified they saw signs of life even after the abortion had been completed — saying the babies “jumped” and “screamed” and tried to escape.
Gosnell, whose squalid “house of horrors” abortion clinic has surprised even investigative officials, has had almost flippant attitude toward his macabre abortion practices shocked the nation.
“The Gosnell case is a watershed moment for the issue of abortion,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue and Pro-Life Nation. “The discovery of his horrific practices helped shed light on an abortion industry that has run amok without oversight or accountability for decades, and has prompted significant changes in abortion laws and attitudes toward enforcement in several states.”
Previously, Gosnell’s wife Pearl pleaded guilty to assisting her husband at his Philadelphia abortion center where he killed a woman in a botched abortion and has killed hundreds of babies in abortion-infanticides. Pearl Gosnell was considering a plea deal similar to the one several of Gosnell’s former abortion center employees have made where they have pleaded guilty to receive a lesser sentence in exchange for testifying against Gosnell.
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Pearl also worked at the abortion center Gosnell ran that had him kill and injure women in failed abortions and kill perhaps hundreds of babies in grisly infanticides by birthing them and “snipping” their spinal cords. She worked at the Women’s Medical Society abortion business her husband ran as a full-time medical assistant from 1982 until she married Kermit Gosnell in 1990, when she switched to only working on Sundays.
At that time, the abortion business was officially closed but would do its latest-term abortions possible. The grand jury report indicates Pearl Gosnell testified that she alone helped Kermit do abortions on Sundays when she would “help do the instruments” in the operating room despite no medical training.
The murder charges also came in connection with the botched abortion death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died at Gosnell’s abortion clinic after a failed abortion. Mongar died November 20, 2009, after overdosing on anesthetics prescribed by the doctor.
Mongar’s family filed a lawsuit against Gosnell’s abortion business seeking damages. Gosnell and several staffers at his abortion center, including Pearl, were arrested in January after a grand jury indicted them on multiple charges after officials raided his abortion business following a woman’s death and discovered a “shop of horrors” filled with bags of bodies and body parts of deceased unborn children and babies killed in infanticides.
Meanwhile, women have spoken out about their treatment and one woman says she was drugged and tied up and forced to have an abortion. Authorities searching the facility 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.
Gosnell’s abortion center was inspected only after a federal drug raid in 2010. It was the first time the facility had been inspected in 17 years because state officials ignored complaints and failed to visit Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society for years.
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 associated with 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 operated abortion centers in Wilmington and Dover.