Entries in Life Sentence (12)


Convicted Abortion Doctor Given Third Life Sentence

Hemera/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Dr. Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies, was sentenced Wednesday to a third life term.

Gosnell was handed two life sentences on Tuesday after a deal was struck with prosecutors, which spared him a potential death sentence. The third sentence was handed down on Wednesday. The 72-year-old was also sentenced to 2.5 to 5 years in prison for the 2009 overdose death of a female patient.

Gosnell was accused of performing late-term abortions on four babies who were born alive, but were then allegedly killed by Gosnell who "snipped" their spinal cords with scissors. He was cleared in the death of one of the infants.

The Philadelphia clinic run by Gosnell has been described as a "pill mill" for drug addicts by day, and an "abortion mill" by night. When Gosnell aborted the fetus of a teen who was nearly 30 weeks pregnant, he allegedly joked the baby was so big it could "walk to the bus."

The guilty verdicts against Gosnell came on Monday, the jury's tenth day of deliberations.

As part of the deal struck with prosecutors, Gosnell will serve three life sentences without the possibility of parole or the opportunity to appeal.

For two months, the jury heard often grisly testimony, including from members of Gosnell's staff. Eight staffers have pleaded guilty to several crimes. Prosecutors said none of the staff were licensed nurses or doctors.

Gosnell ran the Women's Medical Society in West Philadelphia for decades until February 2010, when FBI agents raided his clinic looking for evidence of prescription drug dealing.

Instead they found, as reported in a nearly 300-page grand jury report released in 2011, a filthy, decrepit "house of horrors."

Blood was on the floor, the clinic reeked of urine and bags of fetal remains were stacked in freezers. The clinic was shut down and Gosnell's medical license was suspended after the raid.

Despite repeated complaints to state officials over the years -- as well as 46 lawsuits filed against Gosnell -- investigators said in the report that state regulators had conducted five inspections since the clinic had opened in 1979.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Student Handed Life Sentence for Attempted Bomb Plot

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A judge in Texas sentenced a Saudi Arabian man Tuesday for attempting to make bombs in an attempt to target several sites and former President George W. Bush.

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, a Saudi Arabian citizen living in Lubbock, Texas where he was studying chemical engineering at Texas Tech, will now serve life in federal prison; he was found guilty last June of attempting to purchase chemicals that would make something similar to TNT. He also sent emails writing about potential targets including nuclear plants and the home of former President Bush.

Authorities detected Aldawsari's plot when he attempted to purchase a large amount of phenol to make his bombs from a chemical supply company.

Assistant Attorney General Monaco said, "Khalid Aldawsari came to this country intent on carrying out an attack. He then began purchasing ingredients to construct a bomb and was actively researching potential targets in America.  Thanks to the hard work of many agents, analysts and prosecutors, his plot was thwarted before anyone was harmed; he was convicted at trial and, today at sentencing, he was held accountable for his actions."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Airline Employee Sentenced to Life for Role in Drug-Smuggling Ring

United States Attorney's Office(NEW YORK) -- A former American Airlines baggage handler was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for his role in leading a vast, multi-million dollar drug-smuggling ring known as the "Bourne Organization" and using the airline as his "personal narcotics shuttle service," federal officials said.

The Department of Justice said that Victor Bourne, a Barbadian national, had been convicted of leading a group that smuggled as much as 150 kilograms of cocaine from the Caribbean through New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport over nearly 10 years.

In the far-reaching scheme, federal officials said the Bourne Organization would pay off airline crew chiefs to make sure its own crooked baggage handlers oversaw certain shipments.  On the flights, the drugs were hidden behind panels in the cargo holds, in the ceiling and wing assembly, in the aircraft's avionics and in "other vital equipment compartments," the Department of Justice said.  To get the drugs out of the airport, employees would hide them in their clothing and then deliver the narcotics to Bourne.

Bourne was arrested in 2009 and the investigation into the organization led to the conviction of 19 other airline employees who were in on the scheme, the seizure of nearly 3,000 pounds of marijuana and the forfeiture of $6.9 million.

"Using his insider status, Bourne turned American Airlines into his personal narcotics shuttle service," U.S. attorney Loretta Lynch said in a press release, "running a criminal organization that ignored passenger safety and security in pursuit of their greater goal -- enriching Victor Bourne."

Bourne was brought down at trial by six witnesses, all former American Airline employees, who had pled guilty to their own narcotics trafficking charges.

American Airlines declined to comment for this report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ga. Man Sentenced in Flight Attendant’s Murder, Stabbing of Her Child

Hemera/Thinkstock(MARRIETA, Ga.) -- Waseem Daker, the man convicted last week of murdering a Georgia woman and repeatedly stabbing her 5-year-old son, was sentenced Monday to life in prison, plus 47 years.

Karmen Smith was killed in her home in 1995. Her son was stabbed 18 times but survived.

Daker, who represented himself during his trial, argued again Monday that he was not guilty of the crimes.

“I did not kill Karmen Smith. I did not stab Nick Smith,” he said, "I hope that one day the truth comes out, because this is not it.”

But the judge in the case called Daker “a master manipulator.”

“I hope you never leave prison because that will be just,” Cobb County Superior Court Judge Mary Staley said.

Nick Smith, the son, now in his 20s, testified against Daker -- and was cross-examined by him -- during the trial.

“From what I could tell it was a man, but it was really dark and I just assumed that it was someone that I knew. … The person in the room grabbed me and started stabbing me a bunch and I tried to yell and he covered my mouth and then he kept stabbing me,” a teary-eyed Smith told the courtroom.

Before he was tried for Karmen Smith’s murder, Daker spent 10 years in prison for stalking Smith’s roommate, Loretta Spencer Blatz.

Blatz also testified against Daker at the trial.

Watch the full story on “20/20″ Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington Man Who Killed Two Rapists Gets Life Sentence

Comstock/Thinkstock(SEQUIM, Wash.) -- A Washington man who gunned down two convicted sex offenders offered little in the way of apology even as he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Patrick Drum, 34, hailed by some as a vigilante hero and others as a cold-blooded killer, called the grief the victim's families felt "collateral damage that I feel bad about."

"As far as the men themselves," he said at his sentencing Tuesday, referring to the two men he admits to killing in June, "actions speak louder than words."

Drum shot Gary Lee Blanton, 28, on June 2 at the home both men shared near Sequim, Wash. The following morning, Dunn shot and killed Jerry Wayne Ray, 57.

Both men were known to Drum and were registered as Level 2 sex offenders, meaning the state believed they presented a moderate risk of recidivism.

Blanton was convicted of third-degree rape while he was a juvenile. In court, during Drum's sentencing, Blanton's wife Leslie Blanton said her husband was convicted of statutory rape after having consensual sex with a high school freshman when he was a senior, according to ABC News affiliate KOMO. Ray, the second victim, was convicted of child rape.

After shooting Ray, police were tipped off to Drum's whereabouts when witnesses reported a suspicious person. Cops found Drum's abandoned rental car with a note that included an apology and full confession.

After his arrest, Drum again confessed to police and said he would have continued killing people were he not picked up.

In court Tuesday, Leslie Blanton said her young children found their father after Drum shot him. She also said Drum's supporters harassed her outside her home.

"It was never my intent to hurt the families involved. That's like collateral damage that I feel bad about," Drum told the court.

"If anybody is bothering folks, the families of my victims, I would ask that they not do that. As for the men themselves, actions speak louder than words," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'Underwear Bomber' to Be Sentenced, Could Get Life

U.S. Marshals Service via Getty Images(DETROIT) -- Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the man who tried to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear while aboard a Detroit-bound flight on Christmas Day 2009, may be put behind bars for life when he is sentenced on Thursday.

The 25-year-old so-called "underwear bomber" pled guilty late last year to all the charges against him, saying he did it "to avenge the killing of my Muslim brothers and sisters."

The charges included attempted murder, attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, willfully attempting to destroy an aircraft, placing a destructive device in proximity to an aircraft, and conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism.

Had it not been for a technical problem with the bomb, prosecutors say Abdulmutallab would have killed all 289 people aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253.  They are asking for the maximum life sentence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Missouri Teen Thrill Killer Sentenced to Life; Could Get Parole

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.) -- A teenager who slit her young neighbor's throat and called it "enjoyable" may have the opportunity to walk free one day.

Alyssa Bustamante, 18, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in a Missouri courtroom on Wednesday.

The teen expressed remorse for brutally killing her neighbor, Elizabeth Olten, in October 2009, in what prosecutors described as a thrill killing.

"I know words can never be enough and they can never adequately describe how horribly I feel for all of this," Bustamante said to Olten's mother and siblings, who sat silently. "If I could give my life to get her back I would.  I'm sorry." Her remorse was decidedly different than diary entries she made after the brutal act, when she called killing the child "ahmazing."

Bustamante stabbed the 9-year-old girl in the chest, strangled her, sliced her throat and left her in a shallow grave covered with leaves so she could find out what it felt like to kill.

"I just f***ing killed someone.  I strangled them and slit their throat and stabbed them now they're dead.  I don't know how to feel atm [at the moment]," Bustamante wrote in her diary.

She later added: "It was ahmazing.  As soon as you get over the 'ohmygawd I can't do this' feeling, it's pretty enjoyable. I'm kinda nervous and shaky though right now.  Kay, I gotta go to church"

Prosecutor Mark Richardson had argued for life in prison, plus 71 years, accounting for the years Elizabeth lost.

The defense cited Bustamante's depression and a suicide attempt as a reason for a reduced sentence.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Sentenced to Life Forgot He Was in Jail at Time of Crime

Comstock/Thinkstock(HOUSTON) -- LaDondrell Montgomery had his conviction for armed robbery and a life sentence overturned thanks to his attorney discovering he was in jail at the time of the crime.

But he’s still not a free man. The Houston felon remains in jail faced with five more robbery charges.

Montgomery, 36, has had several stints behind bars, starting in his twenties, which made it difficult for him to remember whether he was in jail or out on a particular date.

His life sentence for armed robbery, which he received in November, was overturned last Thursday after his attorney realized he had an air tight alibi. He was in jail at the time of the crime.

Montgomery might not have known where he was on Dec. 13, 2009, but he knew one place where he was not -- the check cashing store that was held up by an armed robber.

He insisted throughout the trial that he was not the man in the surveillance footage that was used to convict him and sentence him to life in prison.

Montgomery’s life sentence was thrown out after his attorney, Ronald Ray, scoured his rap sheet and realized he had been in jail at the time on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge and hadn’t been released until nine hours after the crime.

State District Judge Mark Kent Ellis chided Ray and Assistant Harris County District Attorney Alison Baimbridge for being “spectacularly incompetent,” according to the Houston Chronicle.

Baimbridge told ABC News prosecutors are typically barred from speaking with suspects.

Ray told the newspaper the barb didn’t bother him.

“I have freed a man from a life sentence, so if you want to say I’m incompetent for doing that, I’ll accept that with a smile,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Warren Jeffs Gets Life Sentence for Sexual Assaults 

Trent Nelson/AFP/Getty Images(SAN ANGELO, Texas) -- Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after being found guilty last week of the sexual assaults of two minors.

It took a jury of two men and 10 women about three hours to find Jeffs guilty, but it took even less time -- about an hour -- for the jury to recommend the sentence against Jeffs, who claimed the two girls he was charged with assaulting -- who were 12 and 15 years old -- were his "spiritual wives."

Jeffs is the leader and president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), which split from the mainstream Mormon faith in the late 1800s.

The charges against Jeffs came from a raid at the FLDS compound in 2008 near Eldorado, Texas., where federal and local law officials rushed to the settlement after speculation that young girls were being forced to marry older men against their will.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Garridos Sentenced to Life in Prison for Jaycee Dugard Abduction

El Dorado County Sheriff via Getty Images(PLACERVILLE, Calif.) -- The California couple who kidnapped then-11-year-old Jaycee Dugard from her home in 1991 and held her captive for 18 years was sentenced Thursday in a California courtroom.

The judge on Thursday sentenced Phillip Garrido, 60, to the maximum sentence of 431 years to life in prison, according to ABC News affiliate KABC-TV. His wife, Nancy, was sentenced to 36 years to life.

In a statement read in the courtroom by her mother, Terry Probyn, Dugard said, "I chose not to be here today because I refuse to waste another second of my life in your presence."

Phillip and Nancy Garrido pled guilty to various kidnapping and sexual assault charges on April 28.  They were arrested in August 2009, when Dugard, then 29 and living under an assumed name, accompanied Philip Garrido to a meeting with his parole officer.

Garrido had been called in to meet with his parole officer after acting suspiciously on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley.  Dugard brought along to the meeting two young children that Garrido had fathered with her.  Under questioning, she broke, dropping the façade Garrido had forced her to use for 18 years and admitted she had been kidnapped.

Investigators later uncovered a secret encampment guarded by a six-foot fence in the Garridos' backyard in which Dugard was kept captive.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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