Why Gosnell Didn't Get the Death Penalty

Connor Simpson
May 14, 2013
Why Gosnell Didn't Get the Death Penalty

Dr. Kermit Gosnell will live. The 72-year-old Philadelphia physician struck a deal with prosecutors on Tuesday that will allow him to avoid the death penalty and stay alive. This is how he did it.

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Gosnell was found guilty on three of four first degree murder charges and one charge of involuntary manslaughter Monday on charges stemming from his illegal abortion practice in a Philadelphia clinic. He was accused of killing babies post-birth and of causing the death of one adult patient. All three first degree murder charges put Gosnell up for the death sentence. 

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But that sentence won't come. After a full day of negotiations, both sides struck a deal Tuesday that saw Gosnell forfeiting all future appeal opportunities, so long as prosecutors abandon the death sentence and allow him to spend the rest of his life in jail. Prosecutors agreed to sentence Gosnell with two life sentences without parole for two of his three first degree murder charges. 

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District Attorney Seth Williams will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday to announce additional sentencing for the third murder charge, the involuntary manslaughter charge, and around 250 lesser counts for additional crimes committed. The gag order will lift. More controversy will likely abound. But Gosnell, after all that, is guaranteed to die behind bars.