Wearing his signature blue cardigan, the man dubbed Dr. Death walked out of prison a free man Friday morning. Jack Kevorkian, surrounded by corrections staff, friends and his lawyer, smiled big and said quietly, "It feels wonderful."
"One of the high points in life," he added before being ushered into the white van waiting to take him to an undisclosed location in Oakland County. As he moved towards the van, a "60 Minutes" camera crew and correspondent Mike Wallace greeted him. Wallace embraced the 79-year old retired pathologist asking, "What do you say young man?" Kevorkian will be the focus of a Sunday segment.
Only a few reporters were allowed back to capture Kevorkian's exit. WWJ's Pat Vitale was one of them, "And what impressed me was he looked very much as I remember him from eight years ago."
More media waited at another location on prison grounds. Kevorkian took a different route out of Coldwater's Lakeland Correctional Facility. His lawyer says he just needs some privacy now. He'll begin his media blitz next week with a press conference scheduled for Tuesday.
Kevorkian told a Michigan Department of Corrections Spokesperson he wants to get back to making music and working on poetry too. He is expected to do some speeches and writings on euthanasia and assisted suicide.
Kevorkian had been keeping a journal while in prison, Thursday night it was stolen. "He speculated, which is probably true, that another inmate took this is an attempt to sell it to make money off of his writings," said Department of Corrections Spokesperson Russ Marlan.
Before Kevorkian was processed for release, he ate a standard breakfast of eggs and grits, said goodbye to the inmates in his unit, was laughing and munching on candy his entourage brought in for him.
Kevorkian will have to report to a parole officer for 24 months. His conditions of parole are like any other except he can't be present at or participate in any way any assisted suicide or euthanasia. He also can't work in a position involving the care of another person.
While Kevorkian has promised not to assist in any more suicides, he says his view on the issue hasn't changed. He claims to have helped at least 130 people die between 1990 and 1998.
He was sent to prison for the death of Thomas Youk, a man all but paralyzed by Lou Gehrig's disease. Kevorkian gave Youk a lethal injection at his request and was convicted of second-degree murder.
He was sentenced to between 10 and 25-years, but is being paroled after a little more than eight years.