Dentist convicted of fatally sedating 3 patients paroled

A California dentist convicted of killing three patients by giving them fatal doses of anesthesia has been granted parole, according to news stories.

Tony Protopappas was convicted of second-degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing two women and a girl by giving them the wrong dose of anesthesia at his Costa Mesa office, according to an Associated Press story.

Kim Andreassen, 23; Cathryn Jones, 31; and Patricia Craven, 13, died in late 1982 and early 1983 after Protopappas administered fatal doses of a general anesthetic, according to a story in the Daily Pilot.

Protopappas had a successful, high-volume practice but "got sloppy," his attorney said. He also had alcohol problems, the attorney noted.

For many years following his conviction, Protopappas blamed others' poor judgment for his problems, according to the Pilot story. But during a 2008 parole board hearing, Protopappas said he had been arrogant and afraid of admitting he didn't know what he was doing when he gave the three patients anesthesia.

An appellate court ruled in March that Protopappas should be freed unless prosecutors proved he was still a danger to society.

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