Philadelphia prosecutors said this morning they are considering seeking the death penalty against three others charged in the operation of Kermit Gosnell’s West Philadelphia abortion clinic.
Assistant District Attorneys Joanne Pescatore and Christine Wechsler confirmed that the death penalty is under review for former Gosnell employees Lynda Williams, 42, of Wilmington; Steven Massof, 48, of Pittsburgh; and Adrienne Moton, 33, of Upper Darby.
All three are accused of aiding Gosnell in seven abortions in which infants were born live and viable – and then allegedly killed by the 70-year-old physician.
The prosecutors, however, said they had agreed with the defense attorneys for the three to postpone a final decision on the death penalty for 60 days while both sides continue investigating the case.
Pescatore said the delay was not an indication that prosecutors were trying to negotiate a guilty plea in which they would testify against Gosnell.
“We didn’t know enough and they might want to tell us more things,” Pescatore said, referring to the 60-day extension.
Not so for Gosnell himself. Prosecutors officially notified defense attorney Jack McMahon that they will seek death by lethal injection if a jury finds Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in the abortions that took place at his Women’s Medical Society clinic at 3801 Lancaster Ave.
The prosecutors’ comments followed arraignments for Gosnell, his wife Pearl, 50, and eight clinic works charged with him in January in a 260-page report of a county grand jury.
Neither Gosnell nor the three other main defendants were in court for the arraignment, which is usual at a proceeding where prosecutors turn over discovery – documents and other evidence – to defense attorneys.
Only two of the Gosnell defendants are free on bail – office workers Tina Baldwin, 49, and Madeline Joe, 53, both of Philadelphia – and both appeared at arraignment with their lawyers.
Neither would comment as they left the hearing at the city’s Criminal Justice Center.
In addition to the seven counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of the infants, Gosnell is also charged with third-degree murder in the 2009 death of a patient administered too much anesthesia by unqualified clinic staff.
The Gosnells and eight clinic employees were criminally charged in January after release of a 260-page report of the county grand jury, which described in gory, horrific detail how Gosnell allegedly performed illegal late-term abortions for poor women, in some cases killing infants born viable by cutting their spines with scissors.
The 10 defendants next court proceeding will be March 30 when the case moves to the courtroom of Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner.
Lerner handles all pretrial motions in homicide cases before assigning the case to another judge for trial.
This so-called doctor, Kermit Gosnell, deserves to burn in eternal hellfire. I am staunchly anti-abortion because I believe that life begins at conception. But even pro-choicers must be disturbed by the the sickening depravity exhibited on the fringes of the pro-abortion agenda. I support the death penalty for this creep. Save the unborn, take out the murdering degenerates.