Trial Begins for Abortion Doctor Kermit Gosnell Charged with Murdering 8

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Three years after federal drug agents searched the West Philadelphia clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, on suspicion that he was running a “pill mill” and found instead a “house of horrors,” the doctor is now on trial for 8 counts of murder. Gosnell has pleaded not guilty to the murder of a pregnant refugee and seven viable newborns.

It was Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams who called the clinic a “house of horrors” after agents found fetal body parts in glass jars and stored in the staff refrigerator, as well as patient rooms that were filthy and blood-stained.

After a 300-page grand jury report was filed in 2011, charges were brought against Gosnell and nine of his employees, who still await sentencing until after Gosnell’s trial. Adrienne Moton, a medical assistant, pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar’s death from an overdose of anesthesia. Sherry West, a medical technician, pleaded guilty the same day to third-degree murder in a newborn's death.

Unlicensed doctor Steven Massof, who used to work for Gosnell for a few hundred dollars a week, told the grand jury he used scissors to snip the spines of more than 100 babies born alive. He pleaded guilty in 2011 to third-degree murder of two late-term babies allegedly stabbed by Gosnell while Massof assisted.

Gosnell’s third wife, Pearl pleaded guilty to charges including performing an illegal late-term abortion. She does not have to testify in Gosnell’s trial, but other co-defendants said they would.

The clinic treated poor, immigrants, teens and women with late-stage pregnancies who could not get an abortion elsewhere. Gosnell saw himself as a gift to a run-down community where he lived and worked for 40 years. "Many times people have not been able to fully pay me for my services," Gosnell said. "As a principle, I have not refused to provide them care."

"I feel in the long term I will be vindicated," Gosnell told the Philadelphia Daily News in a March 2010 interview. "I aspire to perfection, certainly for my patients."

According to numerous lawsuits and the grand jury report, some of his patients were left with infections, perforated bowels and other injuries after his untrained, unlicensed staff performed barbaric abortions.

He made million over the years, both from the abortion clinic and another side practice where staffers allegedly dispense pre-signed prescriptions for OxyContin, Percocet, and other addictive painkillers. Federal drug charges await Gosnell after his murder trial.

Jury selection in the death penalty case begins on Monday. Opening statements are scheduled to begin March 14..

"Dr. Gosnell is never going to get the death penalty," saif his defense attorney Jack McMahon, citing his client's age and the cost of prolonged capital cases.

Source: NY Daily News