Kevorkian Guilty Of Murder

After Dr. Jack Kevorkian was acquitted four times on assisted-suicide charges, a Michigan jury finally decided Friday that he had gone too far. Kevorkian was found guilty of second-degree murder for giving a lethal injection to a man whose death was shown on CBS News 60 Minutes, reports CBS News Legal Correspondent Kristin Jeannette-Meyers.

The jury chose not to convict Kevorkian on first-degree murder charges, which would have carried a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Instead, his second-degree murder conviction carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, but he can be sentenced to less.

The 70-year-old doctor was also found guilty of delivery of a controlled substance and faces a maximum of seven years for that crime.

The doctor showed little reaction as the verdict was read. Oakland County Circuit Judge Jessica Cooper permitted him to remain free on bail while he awaits his sentencing on April 14th.

Kevorkian also served as his own lawyer in the unusually short murder trial. He stumbled over many legal procedures and called no witnesses in his defense, although he did try to call the widow and brother of the man who was killed. The judge refused his request.

Judge Cooper granted him the right to represent himself, after asking him: "Do you understand you could spend the rest of your life in prison?"

"There's not much of it left," he responded.

Kevorkian injected Thomas Youk with a fatal mix of drugs on Sept. 17 at Youk's home.

He acknowledged that Youk's death "was a result of my action," but said there was no conclusive proof that he intended to kill Youk, a 52-year-old man with Lou Gehrig's disease.

In his closing statement, he all but asked jurors to disregard a law he considers unjust, and likened himself to civil rights heroes Rosa Parks and the Rev. Martin Luther King. "There are certain acts that by sheer common sense are not crimes," he said.

The charges arose after a videotape of Youk's death given to CBS News by Kevorkian was shown nationally on 60 Minutes. After the airing, he dared prosecutors to charge him, and threatened to go on a hunger strike if convicted and jailed.