Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Abortion doctor surprised by denial of bail

Abortion doc Kermit Gosnell, who is accused of killing one patient and seven infants at his West Philadelphia clinic, was surprised when he was denied bail at his arraignment Thursday.

"Is there some cause to believe I'm a risk or might flee?" he asked District Judge Jane Rice.

Rice explained to Gosnell, 69, that there is no bail for murder - and he was facing eight counts of it.

"Is it possible you could explain the seven counts?" he asked, while on closed-circuit television from Police Headquarters. "I understand the one count because of the patient who died but not the others."

The others were for babies who were born alive and viable, well past the state law allowing abortions for the first 24 weeks, and whose spinal cords he allegedly cut with scissors.

Arraigned along with Gosnell were eight of his nine co-defendants, former staffers who include his wife, Pearl, and his sister-in-law. The ninth was awaiting arraignment Thursday night.

Adrienne Moten and Lynda Williams, who allegedly assisted Gosnell at the Women's Medical Society, also were arraigned on murder charges and held without bail.

The other defendants included Tina Baldwin, Madlline Joe, Elizabeth Hampton, Eileen O'Neil and Sherry West. Bail ranged from $150,000 and to $2 million.

Gosnell was calm and looked grandfatherly in a teal button-down shirt. Aside from slumping in his chair, he reacted only when he seemed confused by the narcotics charges against him and the numerous counts of murder.

Most of the defendants remained calm and said little, except for Hampton, 51, Gosnell's sister-in-law, who appeared before the camera, sobbing.

"Please don't start with the tears," the judge said.

Family members of only one defendant, Baldwin, showed up in court for the arraignments. Baldwin, whose bail was set the lowest at $150,000, allegedly administered anesthesia without a license and let her 15-year-old daughter, who also worked there, do the same, prosecutors said.

Baldwin's husband, Michael, said she didn't know about the alleged atrocities going on at the clinic. He said his wife told him that investigators would go in and out of the building and never told her anything was wrong.

"She thought that's how an office was supposed to be run," he said.

After his wife testified before the grand jury, she didn't think she would be charged, he said. That all changed at 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, when 20 cops came to their home and took his wife into custody, Michael Baldwin said.

STEPHANIE FARR farrs@phillynews.com 215-854-4225
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected