Abortion doctor, wife ordered to get lawyers
PHILADELPHIA - February 4, 2011 (WPVI) -- Dr. Kermit Gosnell was back in court Friday, but neither he nor his co-defendant wife had a lawyer.
They are accused of murder, the result of performing illegal abortions in their West Philadelphia clinic.
The Gosnell's new heavy duty vehicles still sit snow-covered in front of their home.
The doctor and his wife appeared separately in court on Friday, claiming to be indigent and unable to afford lawyers.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell and his wife Pearl and 8 former employees at their Lancaster Avenue clinic all face charges in connection with the deaths of a patient and 7 newborn infants as they provided illegal late term abortions to poor women.
Dr. Gosnell told Judge Renee Cardwell-Hughes: "I'm very close to being destitute."
The judge then sited public records showing that he and his wife own a total of 17 properties in four states, including a million dollar house on the bay in Brigantine, and the now infamous building where the abortions allegedly took place.
Pearl Gosnell told the judge she couldn't afford a lawyer either. Judge Cardwell-Hughes told them both, "You have resources. You have assets. You must hire an attorney."
Because of multiple assets like their private residence in Mantua, the Gosnells were told they are not eligible for court appointed lawyers, and must retain private counsel on their own using their money, not the public's.
The Gosnells conceded they owned 6 of the properties listed as they verbally sparred with the judge. They remain in city prison.
"The property in Brigantine alone is valued on paper at $984,000. And the tax records, the yearly tax records show that there is at least $10,000 in property taxes is owed on that a year in Brigantine. The assets have to be in the millions," said Assistant D.A. Christine Wechsler.
Dr. Gosnell's neighbors are still in shock about the heinous charges against a community pillar they thought they knew.
"No signs whatsoever. He was a doctor everybody in the neighborhood knew and spoke to. He would speak, very personable. You know, we're very shocked," said Shelton Durand.
In court, Dr. Gosnell was told the D.A. will decide later this month whether they will seek the death penalty in this case.
philadelphia, pennsylvania, abortion, homicide, local/state, vernon odom
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