Jack Kevorkian Gets Parole June 1, Will Promote Assisted Suicide Laws

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 24, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Jack Kevorkian Gets Parole June 1, Will Promote Assisted Suicide Laws Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 24
, 2007

Lansing, MI (LifeNews.com) — Assisted suicide crusader Jack Kevorkian is slated to be paroled on June 1 and the former pathologist says he’s going to travel the lecture circuit promoting news laws in each state legalizing assisted suicide. The 78 year-old originally went to prison after he was convicted of killing a patient on national television.

Kevorkian was sent to prison in 1999 after showing a videotape on CBS News of him euthanizing Thomas Youk, who was in the latter stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

He was supposed to serve 10 to 25 years, according to his sentence but was eligible for parole this year.

Kevorkian told the Los Angeles Times in an interview from prison that he should have "worked for a change in the law instead" of using assisted suicide to kill patients. Upon his release, he says he’ll do just that.

In a telephone interview with Michigan TV station WJBK, he said he would promote making the grisly practice legal in more states other than Oregon, the only one to allow it, but reconfirmed that he won’t break any laws.

He likely won’t have the opportunity to do so anyway because he will be on parol for two years and the conditions of it ensure that he can’t treat patients or be a caregiver of elderly or disabled people.

Kevorkian may also become a paid speaker and says groups have offered as much as $50,000 and $100,000 per engagement for speeches. He would not name the organizations.

Before his conviction Kevorkian claimed to have killed 130 patients via assisted suicide. Now, the state of Michigan has made a law making the practice illegal and state voters overwhelmingly voted against overturning it.

Kevorkian’s attorneys tried numerous times to get an early release or pardon because of various health problems — which may limit his ability to get around the country.

He reportedly suffers from a number of health ailments, including diabetes, hepatitis C, vertigo, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries.

Kevorkian attorney Mayer Morganroth described him as "not a well man" and worried he would die in prison before the official parole came up.

"He’s not real keen on (giving speeches), but there are bills to be paid," Morganroth said.

Kevorkian has been jailed in the Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater, about 100 miles southwest of Detroit.

Prison officials are worried about the media hoopla surrounding Kevorkian’s release. He’s already has done an interview with Mike Wallace of CBS’s "60 Minutes" that will air on June 3, and is slated to be on Larry King Live" shortly after his release, according to the Detroit News.

"Some national (media) people said they would rent helicopters if needed to get their ‘money shot’ of him leaving prison," Russ Marlan, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections, told the News. "We hope not. Some prisoners already think he gets preferential treatment and there are three facilities all in this area. We don’t need a riot over his release."

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.