The Jack Kervorkian ("Dr. Death") Trials (1994-1999): Selected Links
by Cindi Ernst

Jack Kevorkian 1928- :    Jack Kevorkian was born on May 28, 1928 in Pontiac, Michigan, to Armenian-American parents.  At the age of 17 he graduated from Pontiac Central High School with honors.  In 1952 he graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School with a specialty in pathology. 
Kevorkian wrote a series of articles for the German journal Medicine and Law that show -cased his thinking on the ethics of euthanasia.  In December of 1958, he is asked to leave his residency at the University of Michigan after presenting a paper at a meeting in Washington, D.C.  This paper revolved around ideas he supported in the area of medical experimentation.
Kevorkian quit his pathology career in the late 1970’s to move to California.  He invested his life’s savings in producing and directing a movie based on Handel’s “Messiah.”  The movie is a failure at the box-office.
Kevorkian also is an oil painter.  His art tends to be on the grotesque side.  He paints with his own blood and one of his paintings depicts a child eating the flesh off of a decomposing corpse.  Nearer My God to Thee, one of Kevorkian’s paintings depicts how most human beings feel about dying—at least about their own deaths.
In 1987 Kevorkian started advertising in Detroit newspapers as a physician consultant for “death counseling.”  The state of Michigan revoked his medical license in 1991 and made it clear that he was no longer permitted to practice medicine or to work with patients. 

(Top Left, The Gourmet (War), Top Right, Very Still Life, Center, Nearer My God to Thee)
Dates of Importance:
1989-    Kevorkian builds his “suicide machine” using $30.00 worth of scrap parts purchased from garage sales and hardware stores.
1990-    On June 4th, Janet Adkins, a 54-year old Portland, Oregon, woman with Alzheimer’s disease uses the “suicide machine” with Kevorkian present at her death.
On June 8th, an Oakland County Circuit Court Judge in Michigan enjoins Kevorkian from aiding in any suicides.
On June 12th, District Court Judge Gerald McNally dismisses the murder charges against Kevorkian in the death of Janet Adkins.
1991-    On November 20, 1997 the state Board of Medicine revokes Kevorkian’s license to practice medicine in Michigan.
1992-    On July 21st, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge David Breck dismisses charges against Kevorkian for the deaths of two individuals.
1993-    On December 3rd, the Michigan Legislature passes a ban on assisted suicide. Michigan Governor John Engler signs the legislation banning assisted suicide. This ban is to take effect on March 30th.  Thomas Hyde, a 30 year-old Michigan man is found dead in a Detroit park inside of Kevorkian’s van.  A judge orders Kevorkian to stand trial for Hyde’s death.  Within hours of the Judge’s orders, Kevorkian is present at the death of a cancer patient by the name of, Donald O’Keefe.  It is very obvious at this point that Kevorkian is challenging the Judge’s orders.
1994- On January 27th, a Circuit Court Judge dismisses the charges against
Kevorkian in his latest two assisted suicide deaths.  This is important because this is the fifth lower court judge in Michigan to rule that assisted suicide is a constitutional right. 
1995-1997- Dr. Death (Kevorkian) continues to assist in numerous suicides.  On June 26, 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that state governments have the right to outlaw doctor-assisted suicide.
1998- Kevorkian on March 14th assists his 100th patient in their suicide.  A videotape of Kevorkian assisting the suicide of Thomas Youk, a 52 year-old was shown on 60 Minutes.  This airing took place on November 22nd and shows Kevorkian administering a lethal injection to Youk. Once again, Kevorkian is charged by the state of Michigan with first-degree murder.  The charges revolve around the fact that he delivered a controlled substance to Youk without a license to practice medicine.  Charges once again are dropped by Prosecutors.
1999- A Michigan judge sentences Kevorkian to 10-25 years in prison on second-degree murder charges for delivering the controlled substance to Youk.            
2007-Kevorkian is released on June 1st after serving eight years of the 10-to-25 year prison sentence. 
2008- On Monday, March 24th, Kevorkian announces his run for U. S. Congress. He is defeated.
External Links:
Further Reading:
-Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying by Derek Humphry.
-Assisted Suicide and the Right to Die: The Anatomy of a Constitutional Law Issue by Arthur Gordon Svenson and Susan M. Behuniak.
-Forced Exit: The Slippery Slope from Assisted Suicide to Legalized Murder by Wesley J. Smith, 1997.