Cordial, smiling – and acknowledging he will never get out of prison – West Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell on Tuesday agreed to waive his appeal rights to escape the chance of death by lethal injection.
(Judge Jeffrey) Minehart immediately sentenced Gosnell to two consecutive life prison terms without parole on two of the first-degree murder counts.
Gosnell returns to Minehart’s courtroom Wednesday morning for a formal sentencing hearing on the final first-degree murder charge and the remaining counts on which he was found guilty.
Prosecutors had sought the death penalty because Gosnell killed more than one person, and his victims were especially vulnerable given their age. But Gosnell’sadvanced age had made it unlikely he would ever be executed before his appeals ran out.
Gosnell’s lawyer, Jack McMahon, said his client accepts the verdict and isn’t sorry he went to trial. He said Gosnell gave up a somewhat better deal early on but wanted to air the issues in court and is satisfied that he did so.
“He wanted this case aired out in a courtroom and it got aired out in a courtroom in a fair way. And now he’s accepting what will happen. He’s an intelligent guy,” said McMahon, who said Gosnell would now plead to federal drug charges that are still pending.
The sentencing deal, reached after hours of terse negotiations, spares Gosnell’s family the task of pleading for his life in court, McMahon said. Gosnell has six children, the youngest of them a teenager born to his third wife, who has also pleaded guilty in the case.