NBC10- Doug Shimell
For the first time, we're hearing from the jurors in the high profile trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell. Dr. Gosnell was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences. NBC10's Doug Shimell reports from outside the courthouse in Center City with more on what the jurors had to say.
On the same day Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell was sentenced to three life terms for murdering babies during late-term abortion procedures, the jurors who found him guilty of the crimes opened up about the case and how they decided the verdict.
Three of 12 jurors spoke to a throng of reporters outside the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center Wednesday.
David Misko, juror No. 5 and the foreman, described the case as emotional, but said the jury did their best.
"It wasn’t easy, but we did the best with all of the information we got," he said. “Once we figured out what happened it was easy to determine between first and third-degree murder."
Juror No. 6, Sarah Glinski, says the fact that she is not a mother, helped her decide the case.
"It was almost easier for me to detach myself emotionally and look strictly at the evidence because of that," she said.
The 23-year-old Department of Defense employee admitted the reality of the graphic imagery and descriptions shared in court were difficult to handle.
“Seeing those photos and having to say to myself ‘This happened to those kids. There were children that died at the hands of this man.’ That was hard for me to admit that this kind of evil exists in this world,” Glinski said.
Jurors felt it was easy to see premeditation on Gosnell's part, according to Misko.
"It was just business as usual and he slipped the necks no matter what happened,” he said.
Speaking about Gosnell's demeanor in court, Misko, 27, said it was difficult to measure the doctor's personality.
“He gave me nothing to give him an impression on, he just sat there for the past eight weeks smirking,” the juror said.
Of the smirk many described seeing, Misko said he "didn't care for it.”
"The guy fights for his life and he sits back and smirks. It doesn't rub you the right way."
However, the jurors said they believed Gosnell, at one time, tried to help women who couldn't afford proper care, before something went wrong.
"I think somewhere, something went wrong in his mind perhaps that made him do these things to these children that were born alive," Glinski said.
“He started out as a good practice doctor, but eventually just became a money-generating machine,” added juror No. 4 Joseph Carroll.
Carroll, 46, says the group also questioned how much blame should be levied against the mothers who chose to undergo the late-term abortions.
“Women know when they’re pregnant and if they didn’t know after 25 weeks they were pregnant…they should have taken appropriate action before that,” he said.
The trio's admissions come on the same day Gosnell was given 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. "He's 72-years-old and he has resigned and accepted his fate."
McMahon said Gosnell does not have remorse because he still believes he did not commit murder, but respects the jury's decision.
“Dr. Gosnell, he believes that what he did was not commit homicide," McMahon said. "He believes he never killed a live baby."
"Nobody gave him a second chance," the veteran attorney said of Gosnell.
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 was sentenced Wednesday to a third consecutive life sentence for the murder of the third baby. He also was given an additional two and a half to five consecutive years in the involuntary manslaughter death of former patient Karnamaya Mongar. The attorney for Mongar's family say they plan on suing both Gosnell and the city.
Gosnell was also sentenced to concurrent sentences for 229 violations of Pennsylvania abortion regulations, according to the District Attorney's Office. Gosnell will also plead guilty to federal charges of running a pill mill, which started the probe into his abortion clinic. Gosnell's wife, Pearl, has not yet been sentenced.
Galinksi says she's relieved she did not have to decide whether Gosnell lives or dies.
“Today marks the end of a long, sad chapter in Philadelphia’s history," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference. “I’ve seen a lot of senseless violence and cruel acts during my short tenure as the Philadelphia District Attorney. This case is arguably the most gruesome, the most vile.”
Williams thanked the hard work of the prosecution, police and jury as he explained how
“Kermit Gosnell will never kill another baby. He will never kill another woman seeking his medical assistance," Williams said.
"Employees will never have to clear sewage pipes clogged with mangled bodies and squirming, crying, breathing babies will never have their spines severed by his scissors."
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 was in effect in the case since it went to trial two months ago.
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.
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.