Five Years After Euthanasia, Jack Kevorkian Expects to Die in Prison

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 12, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Five Years After Euthanasia, Jack Kevorkian Expects to Die in Prison

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
April 12, 2004

Lapeer, MI ( — Monday marks the fifth anniversary of the sentencing of assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian to 10-25 years in prison for euthanising a disabled man. In an interview, Kevorkian said he expects that he will die behind bars.

On April 12, 1999, Jack Kevorkian was sentenced to the videotaped lethal injection of Thomas Youk in 1998. Youk had been diagnosed with Lou Gerhig’s disease, and his injection with a lethal dose of potassium chloride was shown on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

In a telephone interview with the Daily Oakland Press that was published Sunday, the retired pathologist, now 75 years old, says he expects the last days of his life will be lived in prison. However, he does not believe his life or his cause is a failure.

"There’s no doubt I expect to die in prison," said Kevorkian. "All the big powers, they’ve silenced me. … So much for free speech and choice on this fundamental human right."

Kevorkian added that there has been no protest of his imprisonment because those who share his beliefs are “frightened.”

"The American people are sheep. They’re comfortable, rich, working. It’s like the Romans, they’re happy with bread and their spectator sports," he said. "The Super Bowl means more to them than any right."

Kevorkian’s attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, not only represented the assisted suicide advocate, but believes in the “right to die” as well.

“[T]he Fieger Law Firm is known for taking cases with a cause," such as "defending Jack Kevorkian and individuals’ rights to end their suffering,” states Fieger’s website.

It is for this reason that pro-life advocates were shocked by news that Fieger’s firm, Fieger, Fieger, Kennedy and Johnson, may be representing the family of Tamia Russell, the 15-year-old girl who died after having an abortion at a facility outside of Detroit.

Kevorkian admitted to assisting in at least 130 other deaths. In 1998 Michigan passed a law making assisted suicide illegal and allowing for charges in Youk’s death. In his interview, he said he will stand by an earlier promise not to assist in any more suicides if released from prison.

In their latest appeal for Kevorkian’s release, his attorneys said he is suffering from high blood pressure, hepatitis C, dental problems and a hernia.

But despite his promise and health condition, pro-life advocates are firm in their beleifs that Kevorkian’s punishment should be served to its end.

"Killing patients is never a valid prescription for solving pain and suffering," Pam Sherstad of Right to Life of Michigan said. “The denial of Jack Kevorkian’s early release notes the seriousness of his offense. Jack Kevorkian chose to take not only the law into his own hands, but also the lives of others."