PHILADELPHIA -- Three of eight murder charges were thrown out Tuesday against a Philadelphia abortion provider whose clinic was called a "house of horrors," apparently because the judge had not heard sufficient evidence from prosecutors that the three babies were viable, born alive and killed.
Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 72, still faces the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder in four remaining infant deaths. Prosecutors have argued that the babies were viable and that Gosnell and his staff killed them.
The judge also upheld murder charges in a patient's overdose death.
Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart did not explain why he granted some of the defense motion to acquit Gosnell after more than a month of prosecution testimony. Such motions are routine but rarely granted.
The defense questioned testimony from staffers who said they had seen babies move, cry or breathe. Defense attorney Jack McMahon argued that each testified to seeing only a single movement or breath.
"These are not the movements of a live child," McMahon said. "There is not one piece -- not one -- of objective, scientific evidence that anyone was born alive." -- AP