by Steven Ertelt
November 8, 2004
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — The attorney for assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian asked a Michigan parole board on Monday to recommend to Governor Jennifer Granholm that she release him early because of health problems. The request comes one week after the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of Kevorkian’s murder conviction.
Mayer Morganroth, Kevorkian’s attorney, wants the parole board to either pardon the retired pathologist or commute his sentence. The state board refused an earlier request a year ago.
Kevorkian, who is 75, suffers from a number of medical problems including a hernia, high blood pressure and arthritis.
In a letter to the parole board, according to an Associated Press report, Morganroth argued that the high blood pressure "has been extremely volatile in nature and has risen to the danger level for a heart attack at times."
Russ Marlan, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, told AP that medical releases are typically only given to inmates expected to live 12 months or less.
Kevorkian was convicted in 1999 of killing Thomas Youk, a Detroit-area man with Lou Gehrig’s disease whose death was shown on the CBS television show "60 Minutes."
Kevorkian argued the murder was a mercy killing, but was sentenced for 10 to 25 years in prison. He is not eligible for parole until 2007.
Without comment, the Supreme Court last week turned back a request for a new trial because of claims Kevorkian had an ineffective attorney. The high court also denied an appeal based on the contention that the prosecution was unconstitutional.
"If it wasn’t Kevorkian’s name on the case, there would have been a different decision," Morganroth said after 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied his request for a new trial in June.
Tom Marzen, a pro-life attorney who specializes in end-of-life issues, told LifeNews.com after the 6th Circuit’s decision, "Jack Kevorkian thumbed his nose at the legal system so many times, it isn’t surprising that the courts are not now willing to give him another chance to do so."
Kevorkian claims to have killed 130 people via assisted suicide but claims he will not kill again if he is released. Marzen doubts that claim.
Michigan authors and Kevorkian friends Neal Nicol and Harry Wylie say they have been helping Kevorkian to prepare a 300-page manuscript, tentatively titled "The Life of Dr. Death." Kevorkian has been shopping it around to publishers.
Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple and producer Steve Jones plan to begin filming a movie version in Michigan in early 2005.
Jones says Oscar winner Ben Kingsley would head the short list of people he would like to play the imprisoned coroner. Kingsley is a three time Oscar nominee who won the award for best actor in 1982 for his role in the film Gandhi.