Relaymedia

Kermit Gosnell Cuts Short Defense of Murder Charges Without Witnesses

( [email protected] ) Apr 24, 2013 03:40 PM EDT
Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell declined on Wednesday to testify in his own defense or call witness at his high-profile murder trial, leaving jurors to weigh five weeks of prosecution evidences until deliberation next Monday, according to Associated Press.
Abortion doctor, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is on trial in Philadelphia for allegedly murdering infants. Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News

Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell declined on Wednesday to testify in his own defense or call witness at his high-profile murder trial, leaving jurors to weigh five weeks of prosecution evidences until deliberation next Monday, according to Associated Press.

Gosnell, 72, is charged with killing four babies allegedly born alive by "snipping" their necks with scissors at the clinic dubbed as the 'House of Horror' and the overdose death of a 41-year-old Virginia woman in 2010.

He faces the death penalty if convicted on four remaining counts of first-degree murder even after Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart agreed to the motions to drop three of the eight murder charges on April 21, 2013.

Gosnell’s co-defendant, Eileen O’Neill, an unlicensed doctor who worked in the family practice section of Gosnell’s abortion clinic, Women’s Medical Center, also decided not to testify after her attorney James Berardinelli finished calling 13 witnesses, according to Philly News.

O’Neill, 56, who is not charged with performing any abortions, is accused of participating in the operation of a corrupt organization.

Minehart told the jury of seven women and five men to return Monday when they will hear closing arguments from the defense and prosecution lawyers, according to Philly News. Afterwards, he will then instruct the jury in the law relevant to the case and they will begin deliberations.

Three workers, who were untrained, unlicensed, have pleaded guilty to third-degree murder charges, admitting they helped medicate the adult victims or “snipped” babies’ necks after they were born alive to make sure they died, according to Associated Press.

They told jurors that Gosnell had taught them the technique, the AP reported, and said they trusted that it was legal.

Earlier in the trial, one clinic worker testified that she saw aborted fetuses moving, breathing and, once, “screeching,” according to USA Today. Another described a 2-foot-long fetus that “didn’t have eyes or a mouth, but it was like … making this noise. … It sounded like a little alien.”

According to Operation Rescue, Gosnell, former staffer Kareema Cross testified, joked after cutting the neck of a 29.4 weeks gestation baby boy, “This baby is big enough to walk around with me or walk me to the bus stop.”

Clinic staffers Cross, Adrienne Moton and 15-year-old Ashley Baldwin were all so “startled” by the size of the baby that they all took photos of him with their cell phones. The USA Today reported that when it was placed in a pan, its body curled up in the fetal position.

Another baby was estimated to be at least 23 weeks gestation. After the workers delivered the baby, Baldwin heard the baby cry and called Cross for help. Cross described the baby’s cry as a “whine.” According to Operation Rescue, Gosnell went into the room and then came out with the baby – which now had an incision in its neck – and tossed it into the waste bine.

The defense tried to show that there were no live births at the clinic – that the fetuses were aborted in utero – and that the adult patient died of unforeseen complications.

Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack J. McMahon, argued that none of the seven fetuses his client is accused of killing were alive when they were removed from their mothers because they had been given a drug that killed them in utero, according to NY Times.

“There is not one piece of real scientific evidence that any one was born alive,” McMahon told the judge, the NY Times reported.

But Edward Cameron, an assistant district attorney, said that Baby C responded and “pulled back” when touched by medical staff.

“That’s voluntary movement, and that’s all the law requires,” Cameron said, according to New York Times. “That baby was alive.”

Cameron also opposed the motion to acquit Gosnell on the abuse of corpse count. Jars of severed feet of fetuses were discovered in the clinic when it was raided by law enforcement officers in February 2011. Gosnell said those were used to preserve DNA evidences in case of leading to assault charged.

Yet, Cameron argued, “When the fetuses leave the mother, they are due the respect of any human being,” the New York Times reported.