Coverage of the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell

"House of Horrors" Murder Trial Enters 5th Week

By Maryclaire Dale
|  Monday, Apr 15, 2013  |  Updated 11:28 AM EDT
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Inside the Courtroom: "House of Horrors" Trial

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The murder trial of a Philadelphia abortion provider enters its fifth week Monday, but it will be days if not weeks before the defense starts presenting its case.

Prosecutors will continue to call witnesses this week as they pursue their death-penalty case against Dr. Kermit Gosnell.

Several patients and about a half-dozen former employees have testified this past month about outdated, dirty -- and allegedly deadly -- conditions at Gosnell's clinic in West Philadelphia.

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ROUNDUP OF LAST WEEK'S TESTIMONY BY FORMER CLINIC EMPLOYEES

Gosnell is charged in the deaths of seven babies and the 2009 overdose death of a 41-year-old patient. Authorities allege the babies were killed using scissors.

The former employees describe doing ultrasounds, giving intravenous drugs and helping with abortions, even though they lacked medical training or certification. And unlicensed doctor Stephen Massof testified that Gosnell taught him to cut the necks of babies after they were born to ensure the babies died. He has pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder. Seven other former employees have also been convicted in the case.

Defense lawyer Jack McMahon insists that no babies were born alive, and that the patient died of unforeseen complications. In opening statements, he said that Gosnell is not a criminal, even if he didn't run the “Mayo Clinic.”

Prosecutors said the 72-year-old Gosnell made millions over three decades from desperate women trying to end late-term pregnancies using desperate employees who could not find jobs elsewhere. They said they found about $250,000 in cash at his home in a low-income section of Philadelphia after a 2010 raid of his nearby clinic.

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The raid was prompted by Gosnell's high-volume practice writing prescriptions for painkillers, allegedly to addicts and drug dealers.

It's not clear if Gosnell will testify. A gag order prevents lawyers from discussing their trial strategy. So far, McMahon has tried to discredit or challenge prosecution witnesses, including medical experts.

Authorities said they found dozens of fetuses in refrigerators at Gosnell's clinic during the raid, along with rows of severed feet. Employees have testified that Gosnell told them he kept the feet for DNA purposes in court cases related to the pregnancy. Prosecution experts have said there are other ways to collect DNA.

The trial is expected to last another month.

NBC10.com has complete coverage of the Gosnell Murder Trial. We have daily updates from inside the courtroom and extensive background on the case. Visit our special section dedicated to the case here.

 


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