Coverage of the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell

Gosnell's Wife Sentenced, Apologizes for Husband's Actions

Pearl Gosnell cried in court as she asked the judge to be lenient

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC10's Daralene Jones was in the courtroom when Pearl Gosnell and her chilidren all cried. Gosnell is the wife of abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell who was convicted of murdering babies in his West Philadelphia clinic. (Published Wednesday, May 29, 2013)

    Pearl Gosnell, the wife of convicted murderer and former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, could spend nearly two years in prison for crimes she allegedly committed at her husband's West Philadelphia clinic.

    The 51-year-old was sentenced to seven to 23 months in prison Wednesday after pleading guilty to several charges, including criminal conspiracy and performing an illegal late-term abortion at her husband's corrupt and dirty facility, the Women's Medical Society.

    Pearl cried before Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner during her sentencing hearing in an 11th floor courtroom at the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center.

    Surrounded by the couple's children and other family members, the mother of six told the court her husband deserved to be in prison.

    "I hope he's in jail forever, which is where he should be," she said.

    Dr. Kermit Gosnell is serving three life sentences for allegedly murdering three newborn babies during late-term abortion procedures. He was also found guilty in the 2009 overdose death of patient Karnamaya Mongar and for more than 200 abortion law violations.

    Through tears, Pearl sounded defeated as she apologized for the doctor's actions.

    "His cowardly actions have left me to say sorry," she told the judge.

    She says her husband lied to her about performing late-term abortions, claiming the babies were only as old as 23 weeks. That's one week shy of the legal cutoff for abortions in Pennsylvania.

    Prosecutors say late-term abortions were regularly performed at the clinic. When it was raided in 2010, investigators found filthy conditions, old equipment and untrained staff.

    Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams later nicknamed the facility a "House of Horrors" in a 2011 grand jury report.

    The couple's teenage daughter Alexandra and college-age son Baron Gosnell also spoke to the court about their mother's character. They called her loving and supportive.

    Pearl and Kermit Gosnell, have been married for more than 20 years. They have two children together — a college-age son and teenage daughter. Kermit has four older children from other marriages.

    Lead prosecutor in the case, Joanne Pescatore, disagreed with the Pearl's statement. Pescatore told Judge Lerner Pearl benefited monetarily by the kind of operation her husband was running.

    "She made money off the backs of these women," Pescatore said. She asked the judge to impose a nine to 23 month sentence.

    After hearing the testimony, Judge Lerner handed down the seven to 23 month sentence. He credited her for two and a half months time already served — meaning she'll be available for parole after nearly five months. Although, she could spend nearly two years total in prison.

    Currently on house arrest, Pearl will have 30 days to turn herself in at one of the city's six prisons.

    Once she is released, her attorney says life will not be easy. Her attorney told the Associated Press, the family's surname will forever brand her.

    "Her name is still Gosnell, unfortunately," he said. "I guess it's like being Mrs. Frankenstein."

    Two other former employees were also scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday.

    Adrienne Moton was freed on time served after her hearing. In the emotional proceedings, Moton's family testified that she had changed during her time in prison as the case dragged on. Even Pescatore said she had changed.

    Lynda Williams was also set to be sentenced, but her case was postponed because of another upcoming trial.