Skeleton-like death doc wants out

Posted: Aug 30, 2000 12:00 AM
According to his attorney, convicted murderer Jack Kevorkian, 72, should be freed from prison while he appeals his 10-to-25-year sentence for second-degree murder because Kevorkian suffers from high blood pressure, always wears a sweater because he's cold and looks like a "skeleton." In other words, prison hasn't changed Kevorkian. The ghoulish demeanor that earned him the college nickname "Dr. Death" hasn't softened The K since he was convicted for the 1998 televised killing of Thomas Youk, who had Lou Gehrig's disease. Since his conviction, Kevorkian's attorney has filed five motions to get Kevor kian released pending appeal. No thinking judge would agree. Kevorkian already has helped kill someone while he was out on bail ... after having given his word that he would not. Kevorkian has helped kill some 130 people, ostensibly because they were so ill that Kevorkian was their only ticket to, as the death lobby puts it, "die with dignity." His first victim, Janet Adkins, 54, was in better shape than he is; she played tennis a couple of days before she visited The K's death van. Pathologists have been unable to confirm that some of Kevorkian's "patients" had the illnesses the death doc said they had. So if the athletic Adkins was in such peril of living without dignity that Kevorkian had to help dispatch her, what is he doing sticking around? By his own code, if he is too sick for prison, as his lawyer claims, Kevorkian shouldn't be pushing for release from prison, he should be working on release to the great beyond. Instead, he's all talk. When first convicted, Kevorkian threatened to go on a hunger strike. "I know they are going to force-feed me, but my captivity is still enslavement, and I'm not going to go along with it," he said. Ooops, it turns out a new policy prevented the prison from force-feeding him. With no one to force him to eat and live, the Sweater Boy decided to swallow both enslavement and prison food. How low the mighty have fallen. Some 40 years ago, Kevorkian was quite naked about his desire to kill and experiment on the dying. He would visit prisons and ask death row inmates to support his quest to harvest their organs or experiment on them as they died. As he wrote in his book, "Prescription: Medicide," "I concluded that our death penalty laws can be so worded as to grant condemned criminals a choice between conventional methods of execution and irreversible surgical-depth anesthesia for the purpose of medical experimentation." He wanted to study "all parts of the intact living brain." Kevorkian argued that his vivisection on death-row inmates would be different than Nazi human experimentation because the condemned could say no ... and could even change their mind, although "revocation must be limited, say, to within one week." It was decades later that a light bulb went off and Kevorkian realized that he could find willing victims if he targeted sick people and framed his desire to kill them as a gesture of compassion. Now he's the guy behind bars for murder. How fitting it would be if another would-be death doctor came a-calling. Noting Kevorkian's ill-health, a wannabe Jack could talk about how undignified it is to be sick in prison. Maybe even cite the passage in Kevorkian's book that calls for suicide centers so that people can kill themselves in an "orderly clinical setting." Orderly and clinical? That's prison, Jack. If Kevorkian met another Kevorkian, he'd likely hear this siren song: "Why not follow your own "prescription medicide?" Except Kevorkian would be too clever for his double. For all his railing against "Stone Age ethics," the K Man appreciates the primitive gift of life. Every time his lawyer files an appeal, the message is clear: no death with dignity for this boy.