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Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s request to have his second-degree murder sentence commuted has been turned down, a state prisons spokesman said. Kevorkian claims he has less than a year to live.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Michigan parole board turned down the 78-year-old assisted-suicide advocate’s request, said a Corrections Department spokesman.

Because the parole board essentially upheld its earlier decision, rather than deciding the commutation request anew, the matter does not go to Gov. Jennifer Granholm, her spokeswoman said.

Kevorkian lawyer Mayer Morganroth said he told Granholm and the parole board that his client’s health was “rapidly deteriorating.”

Morganroth said Kevorkian weighs 113 pounds, suffers from active Hepatitis C, which cannot be treated in prison, and has become diabetic. “Frankly, he’s in terrible shape,” he said.

Morganroth said that Kevorkian’s personal doctor said in May that he did not believe Kevorkian would survive more than a year in prison. Kevorkian is eligible for parole June 1, 2007.

Kevorkian is serving a 10- to 25-year sentence for second-degree murder in the 1998 poisoning of Thomas Youk, 52, of Oakland County’s Waterford Township. Youk had Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Kevorkian called it a mercy killing.

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