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Kevorkian Faces Charges in 3 Suicides

November 01, 1996| From Associated Press

PONTIAC, Mich. — Jack Kevorkian was charged Thursday with assisting three suicides since June, in a defeated prosecutor's last-ditch effort to put the retired pathologist in prison.

Kevorkian was arraigned on 19 charges brought by Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson, including three counts of assisting in suicides, a common-law felony.

Outside court, Kevorkian, 68, who has acknowledged being present at 44 deaths, said that "this has got to die as a legal issue." He was released on bond.

Thompson, who failed in two previous attempts to convict Kevorkian, filed the new charges even though his term ends Dec. 31. He lost a primary to a candidate who accused him of wasting tax dollars pursuing Kevorkian.

But Thompson said he expects his successor to carry out the case.

In the latest case, Kevorkian is charged with assisting in the suicides of Bette Lou Hamilton, 67, of Columbus, Ohio; Shirley Kline, 63, of Oceanside, Calif.; and Rebecca Badger, 39, of Goleta, Calif. He faces five years in prison on each count if convicted.

Kevorkian also faces 16 related counts, including conspiracy, presenting himself as a physician while engaging in unlawful conduct, possessing a controlled substance, removing bodies without permission of the medical examiner and attempting to assist a suicide, Thompson said.

Thompson said the additional charges involve 10 deaths from June 20 to Sept. 7.

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