Philadelphia, Pennsylvania — Jury selection has concluded in the case of a notorious Philadelphia abortionist facing eight counts of murder, with the presiding judge sending home any potential juror that professed to be pro-life.
According to reports, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart questioned candidates about their personal beliefs during the jury selection process, and “[t]hose who expressed religious, ethical or moral qualms about abortion or the death penalty were promptly dismissed.” Six jurors were selected in all.
As previously reported, the case surrounds abortionist Kermit Gosnell, 72, of Philadelphia, who was taken into custody in 2011 following an investigation into his practice called the Women’s Medical Society. Investigators had not initially been aware that Gosnell was running a late-term abortion facility, but visited the location over suspicions about the illegal sale of controlled substances.
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams described Gosnell’s operation as a “House of Horrors.”
“[Investigators] found jar after jar after jar of fetal remains and specifically severed feet in jars,” he explained in front of a panel following the compilation of the Grand Jury Report. “They found medical waste bags just strewn everywhere.”
Williams also outlined that several babies had been found with their spinal cords severed. It was believed that Gosnell birthed a number of babies alive, then “snipped” the back of their neck with scissors in order to kill them.
He now faces seven counts of first-degree murder — the most severe charge, which signifies that the acts were premeditated — for the deaths of babies who were believed to have died in this manner.
“Killing really had to be part of Gosnell’s plan. His method for performing late-term abortions was to induce labor and delivery of intact fetuses, and he specialized in patients who were well beyond 24 weeks,” the Grand Jury Report outlined. “The subsequent slitting of spinal cords, without any consideration for the babies’ viability, was an integral part of what Gosnell’s employees called his ‘standard procedure.’”
Pennsylvania law requires that babies born alive are to receive immediate medical treatment.
“Gosnell chose instead to slit their necks and store their bodies in various household containers as if they were trash,” the report stated.
In addition to the seven first-degree murder charges, Gosnell also faces one count of third-degree murder for the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, an abortion client who died after she was administered a lethal amount of medication. Approximately 20 other charges have been leveled against the abortionist, who faces the death penalty for his alleged crimes.
Two of Gosnell’s employees, Sherry West and Lynda Williams, have agreed to testify against the abortionist as part of a plea deal.
During the jury selection process this week, prosecutors questioned potential jurors about whether they are willing to to issue the death penalty against the 72-year-old man. The defense sought to ensure that jurors would be unbiased against Gosnell or those who testified during the trial. According to reports, attorneys dealt with those that had made the cut after Judge Mineheart weeded out those who were firmly pro-life.
Opening statements are expected to begin next week.