Assisted suicide machine in Kevorkian auction

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 11, 2011 12:58 PM
Assisted suicide machine in Kevorkian auction

(Reuters) - The "death machine" used by the late Dr. Jack Kevorkian in his controversial campaign to help more than 100 people commit suicide will be among his paintings and other items up for auction this month, the sale's coordinator said.

Known as Dr. Death, Kevorkian started a polarizing debate in the United States over assisted suicide by crisscrossing Michigan in a rusty Volkswagen van with a homemade machine to aid sick and suffering people who wanted to die.

Kevorkian died in June at the age of 83.

The estate sale is on October 28 at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City, with a preview on October 27, the website of David W. Streets says.

Streets, a California fine arts and celebrity memorabilia appraiser, is coordinating the auction that also includes Kevorkian's blue sweater, personal items, paperwork and 13 paintings that have been on display at Boston's Alma Museum.

No expected prices for the "death machine" or the other items were given on the website. Kevorkian left the bulk of his estate to find a cure for pediatric cancer and the auction will benefit that cause, it said.

No one at Streets' office was immediately available to comment.

Kevorkian used two devices to help people end their lives -- the "death machine" that involved a person pushing a button to inject lethal drugs and the "mercy machine" that used a gas mask attached to a canister of carbon monoxide.

He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 after a CBS News program aired a video of him administering lethal drugs to a 52-year-old man suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease.

Kevorkian served eight years in prison. As a condition of his parole, he promised not to assist in any more suicides.

(Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Jerry Norton and John O'Callaghan)