May 13, 1995 in Nation/World

Kevorkian’s Latest Suicide Assist Delivers A Message To Officials

Michael Betzold Detroit Free Press

Michigan authorities on Friday had a body and a message delivered to them in Jack Kevorkian’s Volkswagen van.

The body was that of 27-year-old Nicholas Loving of Phoenix, Ariz., stricken with the deadly Lou Gehrig’s disease. The apparent message was that Kevorkian’s fiveyear crusade had reached new heights of defiance with his 23rd assisted suicide, the second this week.

Attorney Geoffrey Fieger said Kevorkian got the body to the jailhouse complex in Pontiac to make it easier for authorities to investigate Loving’s death and to avoid the circus-like atmosphere surrounding many of the previous deaths.

But with neither Kevorkian nor any suicide apparatus present when the body was found, authorities will have a much harder time investigating. And critics and some supporters of assisted suicide said Kevorkian was opening a new act in the circus, not ending it.

“Kevorkian should be prosecuted and he should go to jail,” said John Truscott, spokesman for Michigan Gov. John Engler. “This is just gruesome … a new low even for him.”

Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson, Kevorkian’s longtime foe, said he did not consider the van’s location - a few hundred yards from his office - as a personal challenge from Kevorkian.

“No, I think he’s thumbing his nose at the law and the people of this state,” Thompson said.

Thompson said he would wait for police to investigate further before deciding whether to issue a warrant. Thompson is prosecuting Kevorkian for four deaths in three cases recently reinstated by the Michigan Supreme Court and is considering prosecution in 11 other previous deaths, including the death on Monday of the Rev. John Evans, 78, of Royal Oak, Mich.

Despite the recent state high court ruling that assisted suicide is illegal under common law, Fieger said: “There is no law in the state of Michigan that makes suicide a crime or assisting a suicide a crime.”

Fieger confirmed that Kevorkian was present when Loving died and said the death was consistent with the doctor’s previous assisted suicides. But Fieger would not say where or when Loving died, who drove the van to the jail complex, or where Kevorkian was.

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