Death doctor taking stand at Mich. inquest


DETROIT -- Dr. Jack Kevorkian faces a judge and jury today for the first time in his career as a self-proclaimed pioneer of assisted suicide.

Prosecutors want to question Dr. Kevorkian and others who were present when Roseville, Mich., resident Hugh Gale died Feb. 17 in his home after inhaling carbon monoxide gas.

Macomb County Prosecutor Carl Marlinga called the inquest, a seldom-used prosecutor's tool, after an abortion opponent recovered from the trash a document showing that Mr. Gale may have asked to have the gas mask removed shortly before he died.

The document is reportedly Dr. Kevorkian's eyewitness account of Mr. Gale's last moments.

Mr. Marlinga's staff plans to call 15 or 16 witnesses and may offer immunity from prosecution to all but Dr. Kevorkian, said Eric Kaiser, the chief trial attorney, who will do the questioning.

Mr. Marlinga has said that if evidence shows Mr. Gale wanted the mask removed, and Dr. Kevorkian refused, he would seek manslaughter charges against the pathologist.

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