Saturday, June 2, 2007

Kevorkian to Be Released From Prison

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Jack Kevorkian has promised to never help another person in an assisted suicide, but that hasn't dimmed the attention focused on his release from prison.

The 79-year-old retired pathologist was expected to leave Lakeland Correctional Facility in Coldwater on Friday morning with his attorney, Mayer Morganroth. Morganroth has said Kevorkian would not talk to the media Friday, though a news conference with his client was scheduled for Tuesday.

Recently, Kevorkian has made it clear his support for letting people decide when they want to die hasn't wavered.

"It's got to be legalized. That's the point," he told WJBK-TV in Detroit. "I'll work to have it legalized. But I won't break any laws doing it."

Kevorkian went to prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the 1998 death of Thomas Youk, 52, an Oakland County man with Lou Gehrig's disease. He was given a 10- to 25-year sentence and is getting out after serving more than eight years because of time off for good behavior.

Kevorkian has said he helped at least 130 people die from 1990 to 1998. Many who sought his assistance were not terminally ill.

On Thursday, the Michigan Catholic Conference warned it would oppose any effort to renew the push for assisted suicide in Michigan. The state has had a law banning assisted suicide since 1998, the same year voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have made physician-assisted suicide legal for terminally ill patients.

Oregon is the only state in the nation in which a terminally ill patient with six months or less to live can legally ask a doctor to prescribe a lethal amount of medication.

Right to Life of Michigan, which also opposes any effort to allow assisted suicide, said it distrusts Kevorkian's promise to not help anyone else die.

"He made similar false promises prior to a string of deaths, the last of which led to his imprisonment," the group said in a statement this week.

Kevorkian will be on parole for two years, and one of the conditions he must meet is that he can't help anyone else die. He is also prohibited from providing care for anyone who is older than 62 or is disabled. He could go back to prison if he violates his parole.

He will report regularly to a parole officer and won't be able to leave the state without permission. He can speak about assisted suicide, but can't show people how to make a machine like one he invented to give lethal drugs to those who wanted to die, Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said.

Morganroth said he would bring Kevorkian a suit and tie to wear out of prison. Morganroth will be accompanied by his son Jeffrey, an attorney, and by Ruth Holmes, a paralegal who has been Kevorkian's legal assistant during his years in prison.

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