Kermit Gosnell Won't Face the Death Penalty

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 14 2013 4:47 PM

Kermit Gosnell Won't Face the Death Penalty After All

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Anti-abortion protesters attend the March for Life on Jan. 25, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

Kermit Gosnell, the notorious Philadelphia late-term abortionist who was convicted yesterday of killing three newborns with scissors, struck a deal today with prosecutors that will remove the possibility that he'll be put to death for his crimes. Instead, the 72-year-old appears certain to spend the rest of his life behind bars after giving up his right to an appeal. The Associated Press with the details:

Prosecutors agreed to two life sentences without parole, and Gosnell was to be sentenced Wednesday in the death of the third baby, an involuntary manslaughter conviction in the death of a patient and hundreds of lesser counts.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell's own advanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.
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Gosnell was found guilty yesterday of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of what prosecutors said were babies born alive and then killed with scissors at his clinic in West Philadelphia. Jurors also found him guilty of third-degree murder in the death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, who died from a drug overdose during a second-term abortion performed at the since-shuttered Women's Medical Society.

The first-degree murder convictions brought with them the possibility of the death penalty, something that the prosecution had previously suggested they would seek. Ultimately, however, they decided it was better to bring an end to a gruesome case that began more than two years ago when authorities began investigating Gosnell's clinic for prescription drug trafficking.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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