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Dr. Jack Kevorkian has been charged with first-degree murder for helping a woman with Alzheimer's disease commit suicide with his ``suicide machine,'' a prosecutor announced Dec. 3. Janet Adkins of Portland, Ore., died in Dr. Kevorkian's van on June 4 after pressing a button on his device that injected her with a lethal drug.

Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson said he would base his case against Kevorkian on a 1920 Michigan Supreme Court opinion that held a husband who mixed and placed poison near his wife at her request so that she could drink it was guilty of first-degree murder when she died as a result of drinking the poison.

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Kevorkian, anticipating the announcement, said late last week he does not fear criminal prosecution.

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