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O.C. dentist who killed three patients could be released from prison

March 10, 2010 |  7:47 am

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An Orange County dentist linked to the deaths of three people in the 1980s could soon be freed from prison.

Tony Protopappas, 63, of Costa Mesa, was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder in 1984.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in Santa Ana ruled Tuesday that the dentist must be freed unless there is new evidence that he's a danger to society, according to the Daily Pilot.

Writing for the three-judge panel, Associate Justice Raymond Ikola said that after serving more than 25 years of a 15-year-to-life sentence, Protopappas should be granted parole.

In late 1982 and early 1983, Protopappas killed Kim Andreassen, 23, Cathryn Jones, 31, and Patricia Craven, 13, by giving them fatal doses of a general anesthetic. 

In the first years after his conviction, Protopappas continued to distance himself from the crimes and shifted responsibility to others' poor judgment. But in a 2008 parole board hearing, Protopappas took responsibility and explained that he was arrogant and afraid of admitting he didn’t know what he was doing when he gave the three patients anesthesia.

Read more here.

-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot