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UPDATE: Abortion doc jury hung on two counts

Posted at 10:52 AM, May 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-13 12:35:23-04

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — A judge in the trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell and a co-defendant instructed the jury Monday to continue trying to reach a verdict on two particular counts, an hour after the jury indicated it was hung on those charges.

The jury’s announcement that it was hung on two counts — it was not clear which ones, or against whom — came two weeks after it began deliberations.

Judge Jeffrey P. Minehart, before instructing the jurors to continue deliberations Monday morning, told them that their progress to this point shows they’re “considering the evidence seriously” and was an “indication of sincerity.”

Gosnell, 72, faces four counts of first-degree murder, accused of killing four babies by using scissors to cut their spinal cords. Authorities allege that some of the infants were born alive and viable during the sixth, seventh and eighth months of pregnancy.

In Pennsylvania, abortions past 24 weeks are illegal unless the health of the mother is at stake.

He also faces a count of third-degree murder in the death of Karnamaya Mongar, 41, who authorities say died during a second-trimester abortion. Gosnell also is charged with conspiracy, abortion at 24 or more weeks of pregnancy, theft, corruption of minors, solicitation and other related offenses.

If found guilty of first-degree murder, Gosnell, who is not a board-certified obstetrician or gynecologist, could be sentenced to death.

Gosnell’s co-defendant, Eileen O’Neill, is charged with participating in the operation of a corrupt organization and theft by deception for operating without a license to practice medicine. O’Neill, a medical school graduate, is not charged with performing illegal abortions.

Both have pleaded not guilty.