The Kevorkian Verdict


May 28, 1928
Kevorkian is born in Pontiac, Michigan, the son of Armenian immigrants.

Graduates from University of Michigan medical school with a specialty in pathology.

Publishes journal article, "The Fundus Oculi and the Determination of Death," discussing his efforts to photograph the eyes of dying patients, a practice that earned him the nickname "Doctor Death."

December 1958
Presents paper at meeting in Washington, D.C., advocating medical experimentation on consenting convicts during executions. Embarrassed, University of Michigan officials ask Kevorkian to leave his residency there.

Publishes article in The American Journal of Clinical Pathology detailing his experiments on transfusing blood from cadavers to live patients.

Becomes chief pathologist at Saratoga General Hospital in Detroit.

Late 1970s
Quits pathology career, travels to California, and invests life savings in directing and producing a feature movie based on Handel's "Messiah." With no distributor, the movie flops.

Publishes numerous articles in the obscure German journal Medicine and Lawoutlining his ideas on euthanasia and ethics.

Advertises in Detroit papers as a "physician consultant" for "death counseling."

Kevorkian's article, "The Last Fearsome Taboo: Medical Aspects of Planned Death," is published in Medicine and Law. In it, he outlines his proposed system of planned deaths in suicide clinics, including medical experimentation on patients.

Using $30 worth of scrap parts scrounged from garage sales and hardware stores, Kevorkian builds his "suicide machine" at the kitchen table of his Royal Oak, Michigan, apartment.

June 4, 1990
Kevorkian is present at the death of Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old Portland, Oregon, woman with Alzheimer's disease. Her death using the "suicide machine" occurs in Kevorkian's 1968 Volkswagen van in Groveland Oaks Park near Holly, Michigan.

June 8, 1990
An Oakland County Circuit Court Judge enjoins Kevorkian from aiding in any suicides.

December 12, 1990
District Court Judge Gerald McNally dismisses murder charge against Kevorkian in death of Adkins.

October 23, 1991
Kevorkian attends the deaths of Marjorie Wantz, a 58-year-old Sodus, Michigan, woman with pelvic pain, and Sherry Miller, a 43-year-old Roseville, Michigan, woman with multiple sclerosis. The deaths occur at a rented state park cabin near Lake Orion, Michigan. Wantz dies from the suicide machine's lethal drugs, Miller from carbon monoxide poisoning inhaled through a face mask.

November 20, 1991
The state Board of Medicine summarily revokes Kevorkian's license to practice medicine in Michigan.

May 15, 1992
Susan Williams, a 52-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis, dies from carbon monoxide poisoning in her home in Clawson, Michigan.

July 21, 1992
Oakland County Circuit Court Judge David Breck dismisses charges against Kevorkian in deaths of Miller and Wantz. Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson appeals.

September 26, 1992
Lois Hawes, 52, a Warren, Michigan, woman with lung and brain cancer, dies from carbon monoxide poisoning at the home of Kevorkian's assistant Neal Nicol in Waterford Township, Michigan.

November 23, 1992
Catherine Andreyev of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, dies in Nicol's home. She was 45 and had cancer. Hers is the first of 10 deaths Kevorkian attends over the next three months; all die from inhaling carbon monoxide.

December 3, 1992 The Michigan Legislature passes a ban on assisted suicide to take effect on March 30, 1993.

February 15, 1993
Hugh Gale, a 70-year-old man with emphysema and congestive heart disease, dies in his Roseville home. Prosecutors investigate after Right-to-Life advocates find papers that show Kevorkian altered his account of Gale's death, deleting a reference to a request by Gale to halt the procedure.

February 25, 1993
Michigan Governor John Engler signs the legislation banning assisted suicide. It makes aiding in a suicide a four-year felony but allows law to expire after a blue-ribbon commission studies permanent legislation.

April 27, 1993
A California law judge suspends Kevorkian's medical license after a request from that state's medical board.

August 4, 1993
Thomas Hyde, a 30-year-old Novi, Michigan, man with ALS, is found dead in Kevorkian's van on Belle Isle, a Detroit park.

September 9, 1993
Hours after a judge orders him to stand trial in Hyde's death, Kevorkian is present at the death of cancer patient Donald O'Keefe, 73, in Redford Township, Michigan.

November 5-8, 1993
Kevorkian fasts in Detroit jail after refusing to post $20,000 bond in case involving Hyde's death.

November 29, 1993
Kevorkian begins fast in Oakland County jail for refusing to post $50,000 bond after being charged in the October death of Merian Frederick, 72.

December 17, 1993
Kevorkian ends fast and leaves jail after Oakland County Circuit Court Judge reduces bond to $100 in exchange for his vow not to assist in any more suicides until state courts resolve the legality of his practice.

January 27, 1994
Circuit Court Judge dismisses charges against Kevorkian in two deaths, becoming the fifth lower court judge in Michigan to rule that assisted suicide is a constitutional right.

May 2, 1994
A Detroit jury acquits Kevorkian of charges he violated the state's assisted suicide ban in the death of Thomas Hyde.

May 10, 1994
The Michigan Court of Appeals strikes down the state's ban on assisted suicide on the grounds it was enacted unlawfully.

November 8, 1994
Oregon becomes the first state to legalize assisted suicide when voters pass a tightly restricted Death with Dignity Act. But legal appeals keep the law from taking effect.

November 26, 1994
Hours after Michigan's ban on assisted suicide expires, 72-year-old Margaret Garrish dies of carbon monoxide poisoning in her home in Royal Oak. She had arthritis and osteoporosis. Kevorkian is not present when police arrive.

December 13, 1994
The Michigan Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of Michigan's 1993-94 ban on assisted suicide and also rules assisted suicide is illegal in Michigan under common law. The ruling reinstates cases against Kevorkian in four deaths.

June 26, 1995
Kevorkian opens a "suicide clinic" in an office in Springfield Township, Michigan. Erika Garcellano, a 60-year-old Kansas City, Missouri, woman with ALS, is the first client. A few days later, the building's owner kicks out Kevorkian.

September 14, 1995
Kevorkian arrives at the Oakland County Courthouse in Pontiac, Michigan in homemade stocks with ball and chain. He is ordered to stand trial for assisting in the 1991 suicides of Sherry Miller and Marjorie Wantz.

October 30, 1995
A group of doctors and other medical experts in Michigan announces its support of Kevorkian, saying they will draw up a set of guiding principles for the "merciful, dignified, medically-assisted termination of life."

February 1, 1996
New England Journal of Medicine publishes massive studies of physicians attitudes towards doctor-assisted suicide in Oregon and Michigan. Studies demonstrate that a large number of physicians surveyed support, in some conditions, doctor-assisted suicide.

March 6, 1996
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco rules that mentally competent, terminally ill adults have a constitutional right to aid in dying from doctors, health care workers and family members. It is the first time a federal appeals court endorses assisted suicide.

March 8, 1996
A jury acquits Kevorkian in two deaths.

March 20, 1996
Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), introduces a bill in the U.S. House to prohibit tax-payer funding of assisted suicide.

April 1,1996
Trial begins in Kevorkian's home town of Pontiac in the deaths of Miller and Wantz. For the start of his third criminal trial, he wears colonial costume--tights, a white powdered wig, and big buckle shoes--a protest against the fact that he is being tried under centuries-old common law. He would face a maximum of five years in prison and a $10, 000 fine if convicted in the Wantz/Miller deaths. On May 14, 1996 the jury acquitted him.

November 4, 1996
Kevorkian's lawyer announces a previously unreported assisted suicide of a 54-year-old woman. This brings the total number of his assisted suicides, since 1990, to 46.

June 12, 1997
In Kevorkian's fourth trial, a judge declares a mistrial. The case is later dropped.

June 26, 1997
The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that state governments have the right to outlaw doctor-assisted suicide. The Court had been asked to decide whether state laws banning the practice in New York and Washington were unconstitutional.

November 5, 1997
Oregon residents vote to uphold the state's assisted suicide law, the first of its kind in the nation. The law allows doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients.

March 14, 1998
This day marks Kevorkian's 100th assisted suicide, involving a 66-year-old Detroit man.

September 1, 1998
Michigan's second law outlawing physician-assisted suicide goes into effect.

November 3, 1998
Michigan voters reject a proposal to legalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

November 22, 1998
CBS's "60 Minutes" airs a videotape showing Kevorkian giving a lethal injection to Thomas Youk, 52, who suffered from Lou Gehrig's disease. The broadcast triggers an intense debate within medical, legal and media circles.

November 25, 1998
Michigan charges Kevorkian with first-degree murder, violating the assisted suicide law and delivering a controlled substance without a license in the death of Youk. Prosecutors later drop the suicide charge. Kevorkian insists on defending himself during the trial and threatens to starve himself if he is sent to jail.

April 13, 1999
Convicted of second-degree murder and delivery of a controlled substance in the death of Youk, a Michigan judge sentences Kevorkian to 10-25 years in prison. He would be eligible for parole in six years. Kevorkian plans to appeal.

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