Kevorkian seeks early release

Wednesday, August 23rd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Saying he suffers from high blood pressure and other problems, Jack Kevorkian's lawyers are asking the judge who sent him to prison to free him on bail while his murder conviction is appealed.

Kevorkian, 72, should be released on bond from a state prison at Jackson because he is in declining health, attorney Mayer Morganroth said in a motion filed Aug. 11 with Oakland County Circuit Judge Jessica Cooper.

Cooper sentenced Kevorkian to 10 to 25 years in prison last year after he was convicted of second-degree murder in the 1998 death of a patient with Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian administered a lethal injection to the patient on the CBS show ''60 Minutes'' and then dared authorities to prosecute him.

Kevorkian suffers from high blood pressure, always wears a sweater because he is cold and looks like a ``skeleton,'' Morganroth told The Oakland Press on Tuesday.

``His health is much different — even the state has to admit that,'' Morganroth said. ``They moved him to put him close to a hospital. His age has changed.''

Morganroth's motion included a letter from Dr. Stanley H. Levy, Kevorkian's personal doctor, who suggested Kevorkian be moved to a warmer and less stressful environment.

Assistant Prosecutor John Skrzynski, who handled the case against Kevorkian, said he thought the retired pathologist should undergo a second medical examination before any decision was made.

``I don't want to see Dr. Kevorkian suffer medically, but I would also like to see an independent medical reporting on his health,'' Skrzynski said.

Kevorkian is not a threat to others and would not flee if released from prison, Morganroth said. The Michigan Court of Appeals has not yet set a date to hear the appeal of Kevorkian's conviction.

Morganroth said Wednesday that he expected Cooper to issue a written ruling ``in a week or so.'' But besides granting or denying his motion, Cooper also could order hearings or ask for a response from prosecutors, Morganroth said.