Two abortion clinic employees plead guilty to murder
Thu Oct 27, 2011 5:57pm EDT
Story contains graphic descriptions in paragraphs five through eight.
By Dave Warner
PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - Two employees of a Philadelphia abortion clinic where live, viable babies were allegedly killed and a patient died after being given on overdose of painkillers pleaded guilty on Thursday to murder.
Guilty pleas to third-degree murder were entered by Adrienne Moton, 34, and Sherry West, 52, who both worked for Dr. Kermit Gosnell at what prosecutors have described as a decrepit and unsanitary clinic known as Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia.
Due to a court-issued gag order, attorneys declined to comment on reports that no plea agreement was reached in the case.
Sentencing was set for December 2 by Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner. The maximum penalty for third-degree murder is 40 years in prison.
Seven more defendants face charges in the case, including Gosnell, who a grand jury in January said, "killed babies and endangered women. What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable babies in the third trimester of pregnancy -- and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors."
The grand jury said that a clinic co-worker of Moton's testified that a woman gave birth to a large baby at the clinic, delivering the child into a toilet. The jurors identified the newborn as "Baby D."
The jurors said the co-worker told them that the baby was moving and looked like it was swimming.
"Moton reached into the toilet, got the baby out and cut its neck," the grand jury said in its report.
West was accused of murder in the death of a 41-year-old patient, Karnamaya Mongar.
"The evidence presented to the grand jury established that Karnamaya Mongar died of cardiac arrest because she was overdosed with Demerol," the grand jurors said.
The grand jury said West and another employee administered the drug at Gosnell's direction and that Mongar died as a result of "wanton reckless conduct."
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)