by Steven Ertelt
December 14, 2006
Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — State officials have announced that assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian will be paroled in June. Kevorkian was sent to prison in 1999 after showing a videotape on national television of him euthanizing Thomas Youk, who was in the latter stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Kevorkian was supposed to serve 10 to 25 years, according to his sentence but was eligible for parole next year.
The former pathologist claims to have killed as many as 130 patients via assisted suicide, but his attorney, Mayer Morganroth, says Kevorkian won’t kill again. Michigan banned assisted suicide in 1998.
Morganroth told the Associated Press that Kevorkian plans to live with friends in the Detroit area.
He also hoped Governor Jennifer Granholm would allow Kevorkian to leave prison early. Granholm has previously denied four requests for early release based on Kevorkian’s deteriorating health.
"I would hope that the governor, now knowing that he’s going to be released, will expedite it and release him very quickly," he told AP.
Kevorkian has been jailed in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, about 100 miles southwest of Detroit. During that time he has battled numerous health concerns. The 78 year-old Kevorkian suffers from hepatitis C, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
In addition, Morganroth said Kevorkian recently fell and cracked two ribs while he was being transported to the hospital for a checkup.
Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca told AP he didn’t think the parole decision would prompt Kevorkian to kill again or counsel people to commit suicide.
He indicated Kevorkian will be on probation for two years, during which time he can’t leave the state or move within the state without permission.
Kevorkian said in a recent interview he has second thoughts about the people he claimed to have killed through assisted suicide. He now says he should have lobbied to legalized the practice instead.
Kevorkian told the Los Angeles Times in an interview he should have "worked for a change in the law instead" of using assisted suicide to kill patients.
In a previous interview with MSNBC, Kevorkian said he would not break the law but would lobby to legalize assisted suicide throughout the country.
"I have not changed my views on assisted suicide, but I believe it should be performed legally, and I would do whatever my health permits regarding petitions, speeches, lobbying and writing in support of legalization," he told the Times.
Kevorkian said his spirits are in "fair" condition and that he suffers from depression. He indicated he no longer has the strength to read and write and spends most of his time on his prison bed.
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 later this year.
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.