Kevorkian suggests using death row inmates for medical research

Kevorkian suggests using death row inmates for medical research
/Wednesday, March 17, 2004/


LAPEER — Imprisoned assisted suicide advocate Jack Kevorkian has asked
state legislators who advocate lifting Michigan’s 158-year ban on
capital punishment to permit the condemned to undergo medical
experimentation before death.

In a two-page “Open Letter to Michigan Legislators” written from his
prison cell, Kevorkian detailed his opposition to the death penalty, but
explained that the practice of lethal injection could provide scientific
benefits to researchers allowed to experiment with inmates immediately
before they die.

Kevorkian detailed a similar plan in a 1960 booklet he wrote, “Medical
Research and the Death Penalty.”

The 75-year-old retired pathologist is being held at the Thumb
Correctional Facility in Lapeer, while serving 10 to 25 years for
second-degree murder in the 1998 videotaped poisoning of Thomas Youk of
Oakland County’s Waterford Township. Youk had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Kevorkian’s letter was faxed to state legislators this week, his lawyer,
Mayer Morganroth, told The Daily Oakland Press.

Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca described Kevorkian’s proposal
as “ghoulish.”

“It’s mad, and it’s morbid,” Gorcyca said.

State Rep. Larry Julian, R-Lennon, who is sponsoring death penalty
legislation, said he did not expect Kevorkian’s suggestions to become a
part of any bill.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Julian said. “I think people have the ability
now to donate their bodies to science. But that would be a slippery
slope for us.”

The state House was expected this week to take up the proposal to allow
capital punishment.