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Gosnell sentenced to life on other crimes, jurors speaks

11:04 AM, May 15, 2013   |    comments
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(NBC NEWS) -- Jurors who convicted Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell of murdering babies during late-term abortion procedures are preparing to speak about the case.

Their interviews come on the same day Gosnell was sentenced to a third life sentence for the murder of the baby and other crimes he had not been previously sentenced for.

"This case is over," Gosnell's attorney Jack McMahon said outside court Wednesday.

McMahon said Gosnell still believes he did not commit murder, but respects the jury's decision.

"Dr. Gosnell, he believes he did not commit homicide," McMahon said.

On Tuesday, Gosnell struck a deal with the Philadelphia District Attorney to avoid the death penalty by giving up his right to appeal.

Gosnell, who was found guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies, was given two consecutive life sentences in two of those verdicts.

The 72-year-old will be sentenced for the conviction of the third baby's death. He will also learn how much additional jail time he'll earn for the involuntary manslaughter of former patient Karnamaya Mongar, as well as, 229 violations of Pennsylvania abortion regulations.

The attorney for 41-year-old Mongar is expected to deliver a victim impact statement during the proceedings.

Before the sentencing began, Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart, prosecutors and the defense went behind closed doors to thank the jury for their service in the emotional and hot button case.

A gag order has been in effect in the case since it went to trial two months ago. That gag order will be lifted as the proceedings wrap up.

Several jurors are expected to talk outside the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center Wednesday about their experience deciding Gosnell's fate.

Gosnell's deal surprised many who expected the convicted murder to sentenced next Tuesday during official penalty proceedings.

"Like any deal there's a give and take on any side," Gosnell's attorney Jack McMahon said following the deal's announcement Tuesday.

McMahon believes his client chose the deal to avoid having his family part of penalty proceedings.

"They've been conspicuously absent and that has been intentional because of the media focus," McMahon said. "Bringing them all forward for a penalty phase troubled him and therefor I think this was a deal that worked out for both sides."

Gosnell has six children including a son in college and another child in high school.

The former abortion doctor's sentencing draws the end to the case closer -- after stretching on for years.

Gosnell's clinic was dubbed a "house of horrors" by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams in a 2011 grand jury report after investigators uncovered macabre and deplorable conditions inside.

Prosecutors say Gosnell delivered four babies alive during abortion procedures and then killed them by snipping their spinal cords with scissors. He was acquitted in the death of the fourth baby.

Mongar, 41, died after she was given a lethal dose of pain killers and anesthesia during a 2009 abortion procedure at the clinic. Gosnell was charged with third-degree murder in her death, but the jury delivered a lesser verdict of involuntary manslaughter.

Gosnell was also accused of regularly violating Pennsylvania's abortion laws - including performing late-term abortions. In Pennsylvania, it is illegal to perform abortions on fetuses after they reach 24 weeks.

McMahon said before the sentencing deal that his client's bid for acquittal was a battle.

"The media has been overwhelmingly against him," McMahon said. "But I think the jury listened to the evidence ... and they found what they found."

Prosecutors Joanne Pescatore and Ed Cameron were pursuing the death penalty in the case because of the multiple murders. They also felt Gosnell had taken advantage of his victims.

At 72 years old, Gosnell may have died in prison appealing a death sentence before even being able to be executed.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams is expected to speak about the case at a press conference following the final sentencing.

After the criminal case is done, Gosnell will then prepare to be tried in federal court on allegations he was running an illegal narcotics operation out of his clinic. That trial is set to begin in September.

NBC News

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