by Steven Ertelt
February 4, 2005
Jackson, MI (LifeNews.com) — Assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian will be released from prison for a short time in order to have surgery to fix a hernia. Kevorkian left Thumb Correctional Facility early Thursday, according to his attorney.
The 76 year-old man, responsible for the deaths of more than 130 people, will be under close watch in a separate wing of the hospital, officials said. Kevorkian will stay at the hospital several weeks to undergo the surgery and recover from it.
According to an Associated Press report, Kevorkian was given 10 minutes notice that he was being released for the operation.
"Since then I have not heard from him," Kevorkian attorney Mayer Morganroth said Friday. "We’ll probably be updated later."
Kevorkian is scheduled to have the surgery this morning at Foote Hospital in Jackson.
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.
In December, a state parole board again denied a request for parole and Morganroth hoped to get his client out of jail based on his poor health, including the hernia problems.
However, the Michigan Parole Board refused to grant him parole or commute his sentence.
The board indicated another request could be filed in November.
Morganroth was also hoping Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm will intervene on Kevorkian’s behalf.
But, on Friday, Granholm indicated she would not get involved.
"The jury has spoken," she told Detroit radio station WWJ. "He has been sentenced. I’m not interested in a pardon."
Kevorkian, a 75 year-old retired pathologist, suffers from a number of medical problems including the hernia, high blood pressure and arthritis.
In November, the Supreme Court refused to hear a request to overturn the conviction.
Without comment, the Supreme Court 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.
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.