THE FIFTH defendant in the murder case against Kermit Gosnell and nine workers at his former West Philadelphia abortion clinic pleaded guilty yesterday.
Lynda Williams, who appeared older than her 43 years, assured Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner that she understood what she was doing by pleading guilty and that she could be sent to prison for a long time.
In exchange for her cooperation, Lerner told Williams, of Wilmington, that she would be allowed to serve her state sentence at the same time as any federal sentence she may receive stemming from the case.
Williams, an unlicensed worker at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society clinic, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree murder and four related crimes.
Her victims were Karnamaya Mongar, 41, an abortion patient who died during a November 2009 drug overdose prescribed by Gosnell, and one of the seven babies whose spinal cords were cut after having been born alive and viable, prosecutors allege.
Gosnell hired Williams to work for him full time in 2008 to clean instruments, but she was soon "anesthetizing abortion patients, performing ultrasounds . . . and dealing with babies born alive while he was not at the clinic," according to a January grand jury report.
"It was Williams who actually administered the lethal mixes of Demerol, promethazine and diazepam that killed" Mongar, according to the report.
Lerner set tentative sentencing dates in December for her and the four other defendants who previously pleaded.
A hearing is set for Monday in Lerner's court for a sixth defendant, Tina Baldwin, 46, meaning that she also is likely to plead guilty.
Among the four remaining defendants waiting to be tried are Gosnell, 70, and his wife, Pearl, 50.
Gosnell, charged with first-degree murder in the seven babies' deaths and with the third-degree murder of Mongar, could face the death penalty if convicted, prosecutors have said.