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Attorney: Only Bullet or Prison Will Keep Kevorkian From Helping People Die

June 17, 1992

LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ Only a bullet or a prison cell will stop Dr. Jack Kevorkian from helping more sick people commit suicide, his attorney said Tuesday.

″If they want to stop him, they’re going to have to shoot him down like a dog or put him in jail,″ said Geoffrey Fieger. ″There’s no question about the rights of suffering patients to decide.″

Fieger’s comments came after the close of a hearing on Kevorkian’s appeal of the suspension last November of his medical license. Kevorkian also faces trial, probably after Labor Day, on murder charges for helping two women commit suicide Oct. 23.

During his closing argument, Fieger blasted the state Medical Board, which suspended Kevorkian’s license, and Dr. John Ingold, a board member who will rule on Kevorkian’s appeal. Ingold said he hoped to release a written decision by early next month.

Fieger told Ingold he expected him to deny the appeal.

″You won’t succeed. You will not stop Kevorkian, nor will you stop the inexorable progress of society and human life. You merely represent an obstacle in the course of some common sense among all of us, all caring and compassion,″ Fieger said.

But Assistant Attorney General Merry Rosenberg said Kevorkian considers himself above the law and poses a danger to society.

″The bottom line in this case is that Dr. Kevorkian, while he may be bringing a very important issue to the forefront of our societal discussion, and I believe he is, is the way in which he’s handling it, his attitude,″ she said.

Kevorkian is charged with two counts of murder for assisting in the October 1991 deaths of Sherry Miller and Marjorie Wantz, two Michigan women who suffered from painful illnesses not considered terminal.

He was also present when Susan Williams, 52, who suffered from multiple sclerosis, killed herself May 15 by inhaling carbon monoxide. He hasn’t been charged in her death.

Kevorkian was charged with murder in 1990 for helping Alzheimer’s patient Janet Adkins inject herself with a fatal dose of drugs. A judge dismissed that charge, ruling that Michigan has no law against assisted suicide. One is pending in the Michigan Legislature.

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