Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, April 13, 1999 Published at 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK

World: Americas

Prison term for 'Dr Death'

Kevorkian will be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence

A judge in the US state of Michigan has sentenced assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years in prison for murder.

[ image:  ]
"You had the audacity to go on national television, show the world what you did and dare the legal system to stop you. Well sir, consider yourself stopped," said Judge Jessica Cooper.

"This trial was not about the political correctness of euthanasia. This was about you, sir," the judge added.

Family pleads for clemency

Rob Watson in Washington: The judge was tough
The defence had asked for a suspended sentence, citing the victim's family statements during the sentencing hearing and the Dr Kevorkian's age. He will be 71 in May.

The retired pathologist says he has helped more than 130 people die since 1990.

The wife and younger brother of Thomas Youk, the man Dr Kevorkian was convicted of killing, called on the judge to show compassion and grant the assisted suicide advocate clemency.

[ image: Thomas Youk: Death shown on US TV]
Thomas Youk: Death shown on US TV
"It troubles me that the jury has heard only one distorted version of this story, and I wonder aloud, 'can this be justice?'" said Thomas Youk's younger brother Terrence.

Prosecutors asked for a minimum of a 10-year sentence. He has previously been acquitted by three juries on assisted suicide charges. A mistrial was declared in a fourth trial.

"This case is about what Jack Kevorkian did, and what he did under the law under the state of Michigan is commit murder," the prosecutor said.

Death on TV

The judge and the prosecutor made a point that Kevorkian provided a videotape of Mr Youk's death to the television programme "60 Minutes," and challenged the legal system to stop him.

Mr Youk suffered from a wasting disease. Before he died, he was confined to a wheelchair, and had difficulty breathing and eating.

During Mrs Youk's statement, she said, "the tape was produced for no other reason then to show my husband's consent."

Dr Kevorkian has previously threatened to go on hunger strike if convicted and jailed.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

27 Mar 99 | Americas
'Dr Death' convicted of murder

26 Nov 98 | Americas
Profile: 'Dr Death'

23 Nov 98 | Americas
US TV shows 'Dr Death' killing

16 Nov 98 | Health
GPs 'help 27,000 patients die'

Internet Links

Medical Association response to Dr Kevorkian

The Kevorkian Files

The Hemlock Society

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

From Business
Microsoft trial mediator appointed

Safety chief deplores crash speculation

From Entertainment
Taxman scoops a million

Violence greets Clinton visit

Bush outlines foreign policy

Boy held after US school shooting

Memorial for bonfire dead

Senate passes US budget

New constitution for Venezuela

North Korea expels US 'spy'

Hurricane Lenny abates

UN welcomes US paying dues

Chavez praises 'advanced' constitution

In pictures: Castro strikes out Chavez

WTO: arbitration in EU-Ecuador banana dispute

Colombian army chief says rebels defeated

Colombian president lambasts rebels