Most of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted suicides happened in the Metro Detroit area, but one happened in Ionia County.  It was a case that almost went unnoticed.

August 1996, nearly 15 years ago, a woman named Loretta Peabody died in Ionia; she suffered from multiple sclerosis.   She appeared to have died of natural causes.   Weeks after her death, police found a video tape of Peabody, asking Kevorkian to help her end her life.  Then-prosecutor Raymond Voet moved forward, charging Kevorkian with assisting a suicide. 

In June 1997 - the State of Michigan versus Dr. Jack Kevorkian started at the Ionia County Courthouse.  “It's not an ordinary day in the life of a small-town prosecutor,” Now Judge Raymond Voet recalled,  “when all of a sudden you've got national media coming into town wanting to talk to you, covering a case that you're working.”

But the case was over before it ever really started.  Kevorkian's attorney Geoffrey Fieger made numerous statements during his opening that led to a mistrial.  "I've had the chance to bump into and talk to jurors,” Judge Voet told FOX 17 News.  “Most of the jurors that I've talked to since then said 'we would have kept an open mind, we weren't going to fall for the big-city flamboyance and pizazz, the razzle-dazzle."

Then-Prosecutor Voet had invested so much time, so many resources into the case, and decided against a re-trial.  “In retrospect, I could have stuck with it, should have stuck with it, but that's Monday morning quarterbacking,” Judge Voet said.

Kevorkian eventually was convicted by an Oakland County jury in a separate case and spent eight years behind bars.  "I think justice was done, and I think that in an ironic sort of way, him getting the mistrial in Ionia County emboldened him, and gave him a sense of being untouchable, which I think led to him committing second degree murder and putting it on television," Judge Voet said.