Philadelphia (CNN) – A Philadelphia abortion provider who killed babies by cutting their spinal cords with scissors was found guilty of first-degree murder on Monday.
The conviction on three counts of first-degree murder means Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, could be sentenced to death.
Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore sobbed after the verdict in the high-profile case was announced. Gosnell appeared shocked. He let out a sigh and shook his head back and forth.
Defense attorney Jack McMahon told CNN it’s too soon to tell whether he will appeal the conviction.
“We were disappointed. We put on a vigorous defense. We think it went well for us in the courtroom,” he said. “But the jury spoke, and we respect the jury’s verdict.”
Gosnell also was accused in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who died of an anesthetic overdose during a second-trimester abortion at his West Philadelphia clinic. In that case, the jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter.
Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, was also found guilty of 21 counts of abortion of the unborn, 24 weeks or older.
In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.
Abortion doctor case triggers painful memories for ex-patient
The case next moves to the penalty phase, when jurors will weigh whether to give Gosnell a death sentence. It’s possible the doctor will testify, said William Brennan, an attorney who represented Gosnell earlier in the case.
CNN’s Catherine E. Shoichet, Josh Levs, David Ariosto, Jason Hanna and Dana Ford contributed to this report.