Philadelphia Criminal Law News

Three Of Kermit Gosnell's Employees Face Death Penalty

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported three of Doctor Kermit Gosnell's former employees from his West Philadelphia abortion office could face a potential death penalty sentence just like their employer.

City prosecutors alleged that Lynda Williams, 42, from Wilmington; Steven Massof, 48, from Pittsburg; and Adrienne Moton, 33, from Upper Darby assisted Gosnell in seven abortions where the infants were born live and then killed by the 70-year-old physician.

Prosecuting attorneys said they had also agreed with the defense in extending the three employees' deadline to be notified about whether death by legal injection would be possible in their case. Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said the 60-day delay would help provide more time for both sides to further examine the case.

“We didn’t know enough, and they might want to tell us more things,” said Pescatore. Gosnell, however, did not receive an extension like his former employees.

Prosecutors will usually make their last pretrial offers to withdraw a death sentence if a defendant in a homicide case pleads guilty, surrenders their right to appeal, and agrees to serve life behind bars without parole. But if a jury finds the Gosnell guilty of first-degree murder in the seven cases of abortion, prosecutors said they will pursue a death sentence for the physician.

The death-penalty notice, known as an “802” among most criminal defense lawyers, does not require the District Attorney’s Office seek capital punishment for Gosnell, reported the Inquirer.

Gosnell, his wife, and 8 of his employees were charged in January for allegedly performing illegal late-term abortions on underprivileged women and killing viable infants. All 10 defendants are expected to appear before Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner again at the end of the month.

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