Kevorkian Sentenced to 10-25 Years in Prison

PONTIAC, Mich. -- Judge Jessica Cooper sentenced Dr. Jack Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years in prison today for the nationally videotaped euthanasia, lecturing the euthanasia crusader: "No one, sir, is above the law. No one."

Judge Cooper also sentenced the 70-year-old notorious assisted suicide crusader to 3 to 7 years for delivery of a controlled substance. The judge didn't say whether the sentences would run concurrently. Kevorkian will be eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

Kevorkian, who could have been sentenced to life in prison, was convicted of murder in the second degree in the death of 52-year-old Thomas Youk. Kevorkian injected Youk with a lethal cocktail of chemicals on Sept. 17 and videotaped the death. The video was shown two months later on CBS' "60 Minutes."

"This trial was not about the political or moral correctness of euthanasia," Cooper told Kevorkian. "It was about lawlessness. It was about disrespect for a society that exists because of the strength of the legal system. No one, sir, is above the law. No one.

"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."

Kevorkian was led from the courtroom in handcuffs after the judge denied bond.

Cooper pronounced sentence after hearing emotional testimony from Youk's widow, Melody, who praised Kevorkian and urged the judge to show "compassion."

Kevorkian was found guilty March 26. The relatives' testimony had been deemed irrelevant during that phase of the trial, because a victim's suffering is not considered a defense in a murder trial under state law.

It was the first murder trial for Kevorkian, a retired pathologist who says he has been involved in some 130 deaths in his nine-year crusade for assisted suicide. His previous trials, all on assisted suicide charges, resulted in three acquittals and one mistrial.

Before allowing him to act as his own lawyer in this trial, Cooper asked him: "Do you understand you could spend the rest of your life in prison?" "There's not much of it left," Kevorkian responded.

The Oakland County Circuit Court jury sided with prosecutor John Skrzynski, who said Kevorkian "came like a medical hitman in the night with a bag of poison to do his job.

Meanwhile, critics of Jack Kevorkian Monday held an all-night vigil outside the courthouse where the sentence was pronounced. Diane Coleman, president of the group Not Dead Yet, described Kevorkian as a "sociopathic killer" who "has total contempt for the law." They displayed a quilt with squares representing the 130 people Kevorkian has helped die.

"Give him life," she said. "That's more than he gave his victims."

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