Gosnell Found Guilty of First Degree Murder in ‘House of Horrors’ Abortion, Murder Trial
Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic descriptions.
The court case that has both horrified and gripped the nation is coming to a close. A verdict in the Dr. Kermit Gosnell trial has been reached: The abortion doctor is guilty in three of four first-degree murder counts (these were three of the more than 250 criminal charges against him). The penalty phase of the case is expected to begin on May 21, as Gosnell may receive the death penalty for his crimes.
The emotion surrounding the case has been intense, as abortion continues to be a monumentally-contentious issue in America, specifically terminations past the 20-week mark. Throughout the six-week trial, defense attorney Jack McMahon attempted to paint the abortion doctor as a victim of racism and elitism who is being targeted by the judicial system.
Conversely, the prosecution, led by Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron, dubbed him a heartless killer who murdered babies outside the womb. For the most part, the jury agreed with the second descriptive.
The charges against Gosnell included 258 counts in total. As stated, the three first-degree murder counts could yield the death penalty. In addition to these and an additional third-degree murder charge, the abortion doctor faced 24 counts of conducting third-trimester abortions (an illegal act) and 227 counts of failing to counsel patients a day before doing the procedure.
According to the Associated Press, “Gosnell was also convicted of infanticide, racketeering and more than 200 counts of violating Pennsylvania’s abortion laws by performing third-term abortions or failing to counsel women 24 hours in advance.” More specifically, he was convicted of 21 counts of abortion past the 24-week mark and 211 counts of failing to comply with a mandatory 24-hour waiting period before providing an abortion, among other charges.
Lila Rose, the Founder of Live Action, a pro-life group that has been releasing undercover videos in an effort to expose abortion practices, is naturally reacting favorably to the Gosnell verdict. In a release, she decried the “gruesome and inhuman” conditions at the clinic and said that “justice has been served.”
“Even as we celebrate this verdict, we honor and mourn as well those innocents who did not receive ‘their day in court’ – and we must remember that Gosnell is not an outlier within the abortion industry,” she said. “We cannot allow these ‘guilty’ verdicts, welcome as they are, to make us complacent when it comes to the continuing abuses happening even now in abortion facilities throughout our nation.”
Even Planned Parenthood welcomed the verdict. Spokesperson Eric Ferrero called Gosnell a butcher and, as USA Today notes, said the doctor’s punishment is warranted.
“This was horrifying and he should be punished,” he said. “This was not an abortion provider. This was someone preying on women.”
Perhaps the battle — one that has created new-found interest in discussion and debate surrounding late-term abortion — can best be summarized by looking back at the closing arguments that were advanced by both McMahon and Cameron. On April 29, TheBlaze was in the courtroom to hear these appeals; both sides pointedly defended their viewpoints, providing a look-back at key testimony in the troubling case.
THE DEFENSE’S CLOSING ARGUMENTS
McMahon offered a fiery diatribe, defending his client against the first degree murder charges for four infants allegedly killed after birth and a third-degree charge for the death of Karnamaya Mongar, an immigrant who died following an abortion. While admitting that the clinic, the Women’s Medical Society, wasn’t perfect, the lawyer launched into a major defensive, railing against the notion that it was a bloody “house of horrors,” as prosecutors, pro-life advocates and the media have maintained.
He defended Gosnell as an asset to the community who provided low-cost health care and an opportunity for young females in the neighborhood to learn. Rather than rooting its arguments in fairness, the attorney accused the prosecution of prejudice; he called the case against Gosnell “elitist” and “racist” and said that the charges and claims have been blown out of proportion.
“This isn’t a perfect place by any stretch of the imagination — but it’s not what they say it is,” McMahon continued, going on to claim that Gosnell was singled-out because he is an African American.
Of particular frustration to McMahon was the use of the aforementioned term — “house of horrors.” While he noted that it “sounds good” and “makes for good press,” he rejected the label and said that it has been manufactured to convince people to come alongside the prosecution’s concocted vision of what unfolded.
From showing images of a clinic that was clean and well-organized (to contradict the prosecution’s claims that the Women’s Medical Society was a dirty and disease-ridden establishment) to continuously berating the prosecution over its tactics and purportedly untrue statements, McMahon was candid.
“That, ladies and gentleman, is not a house of horrors,” he said, after showing the jury images of a clean and organized clinic environment.
After tackling the conditions within, McMahon moved on to denying that any babies were killed after birth. In making this case, he relied upon the testimony of witnesses that the prosecution called. Considering that the defense attorney didn’t call any witness of his own to the stand, he moved line-by-line through transcripts in an effort to both discredit statements and to poke holes in any indication that Gosnell might have delivered live babies and murdered them once they were outside of the mothers’ womb.
Kareema Cross, a former clinic worker who delivered some of the more disturbing testimony about what purportedly unfolded at the hands of Gosnell, was dismissed by McMahon as having a grudge against the doctor (read details about her testimony here). Other clinic workers, he alleged, were seemingly intimidated by the government into admitting crimes that they truly did not commit.
And all of the neck-snipping, McMahon maintained, was done after the babies were dead. While this theory was advanced, there wasn’t much credence given to critics’ notion that spinal cords would not need to be severed if the babies were truly delivered deceased, as is the claim.
Interestingly, McMahon did leave the door open to the idea that Gosnell may have conducted abortions past the 24-week cap that is currently embedded in Pennsylvania law. He wasn’t explicit and he didn’t devote much time to tackling the subject.
In sum, the defense delivered compelling arguments, but not compelling enough to relieve Gosnell of the murder charges against him. The attorney did find many areas of exploitation and holes in the narrative against Gosnell — vacancies he was able to fill with questions, curiosities and his own counter-theories.