PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – A Philadelphia doctor was sent to prison on Wednesday to serve three life terms without parole for murdering babies during late-term abortions and other crimes at his squalid clinic.
In a deal that spared him from the death penalty, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, faced a judge in a two-day sentencing at Philadelphia Common Pleas Court after waiving his right to appeal his conviction on three counts of first-degree murder.
Graphic trial testimony about Gosnell’s actions at the now-shuttered Women’s Medical Society Clinic in West Philadelphia, which served a predominantly black and low-income community, cast a spotlight on the controversial practice of late-term abortions.
A seven-woman, five-man jury convicted Gosnell on Monday in the case that focused on whether the infants were born alive and then killed. A clinic worker testified during the trial that the doctor had delivered live babies during botched late-term abortions and cut their spinal cords.
Gosnell’s defense had claimed there was no evidence that the babies were alive after they were aborted and that any noise or movement would have been involuntary spasms.
“Kermit Gosnell will never kill another baby, he will never kill another woman seeking medical assistance,” Williams said. “He will never again subject poor women to barbaric procedures performed in squalor under less than third world conditions.”
Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, said Gosnell maintained his innocence.
“He believes what he did was not homicide. He believes he never killed a live baby,” McMahon told reporters.
Jurors speaking publicly for the first time said after the sentencing on Wednesday that the trial, which lasted more than two months, was emotionally draining.
“There was a lot to deal with,” said jury foreman David Misko, 27. Asked why the jurors agreed to convict Gosnell on first-degree murder charges, he said they found that the doctor’s actions were premeditated.
“It was business as usual,” Misko said. “He snipped the necks no matter what happened.”
Both anti-abortion and abortion rights advocates pointed to the trial as powerful evidence for their arguments. But juror Sarah Glinski, 23, said the highly emotional issue of abortion had no place in the jury deliberation room.