Judge Throws Out 3 Murder Charges in Gosnell Abortion-Murder Case

By Elizabeth Harrington | April 23, 2013 | 1:05 PM EDT

Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – A Philadelphia judge threw out three murder charges against abortionist Kermit Gosnell on Tuesday, including one for the murder of a baby born alive, breathing for 20 minutes before its spinal cord was cut, according to testimony in the case. Gosnell still faces five other murder charges and other criminal charges in the case.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart granted judgment of acquittal for the first-degree murder charges of three babies in the case, identified as “Baby B,” “Baby C,” and “Baby G.”

According to the grand jury report, Baby C was “moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times.”

Kareema Cross, who worked at the clinic, testified to the grand jury that the baby was moving and breathing for 20 minutes before Lynda Williams cut the back of its neck.

Both Williams and Gosnell were charged with murder and conspiracy charges for the killing of Baby C.  Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder and testified against Gosnell earlier this month.  During her testimony she said cutting the necks of babies born alive during abortion procedures was "standard procedure" at Womens Medical Society, Gosnell’s abortion clinic in West Philadelphia, to "ensure fetal demise."

Fetal remains in a freezer in the Women's Medical Society abortion clinic run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. (Grand Jury Report.)

Gosnell’s defense lawyer Jack McMahon argued that Williams “only saw one arm, one movement, one spasm.”  “This wasn’t a baby moving!” he said, when arguing that all counts against his client should be dropped.

McMahon argued that all first-degree murder charges should be dismissed, saying that one movement or breath is not enough to prove the babies were born alive.

“If we are going in this room to say a baby is born alive because it moves one time without any other movement, that is ludicrous,” McMahon said.

Judge Minehart also threw out five counts of “abuse of a corpse,” for baby feet remains that were recovered from the clinic, that Gosnell was purportedly keeping for “DNA purposes.”

All other charges, however, remain, including one for the first-degree murder of a baby that was born alive in a toilet, and according to testimony, was “swimming,” “trying to get out.”

Remaining charges include third-degree murder for the overdose death of Karnamaya Mongar, three counts of first-degree murder of babies, infanticide, conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.

First-degree murder and a charge of infanticide for “Baby Boy B” were thrown out.  According to the grand jury report, Baby Boy B’s body was discovered at the clinic in the freezer during the raid in 2010.  It was a 28-week-old male.

The third murder charge thrown out was for “Baby G,” who Steven Massoff, an unlicensed medical school graduate, testified was breathing before Gosnell cut its neck.

Massoff said he saw the fully expelled baby exhibit “a respiratory excursion,” meaning a breath.  “According to Massof, Gosnell then ‘snipped the cervical part of the vertebra,’” the grand jury report states.

Massoff also pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder.

The defense will begin presenting its case today for the trial that is now in its sixth week.

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