Kevorkian suicide machine, paintings in NYC sale

By the Associated Press | October 28, 2011 | 2:05 PM EDT

Ava Janus of Troy, Mich., the sole surviving heir of Dr. Jack Kevorkian, poses with his "Thanatron" machine, and its carry box, left, in New York Thursday Oct. 27, 2011. It is scheduled to be auctioned as part of his estate, Friday Oct. 28, 2011. Kevorkian's estate is going ahead with plans to auction 17 of his paintings, including one he did with a pint of his blood, even though a suburban Boston museum is refusing to give them up. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

NEW YORK (AP) — Dr. Jack Kevorkian's suicide machine and 17 paintings tied up in a legal dispute with a suburban Boston museum are among the assisted-suicide advocate's possessions going on the auction block on Friday.

The paintings, including one Kevorkian did with a pint of his blood, and about 100 other personal items are set to be sold at the New York Institute of Technology. The estate has estimated the value of the 17 paintings at $2.5 million to $3.5 million.

Images of the paintings will be displayed instead of the actual works because the Armenian Library and Museum of America has refused to surrender them.

Kevorkian sparked the national right-to-die debate with a homemade suicide machine that helped end the lives of about 130 ailing people. He was convicted of second-degree murder in 1999 for assisting in the 1998 death of a Michigan man with Lou Gehrig's disease. He was released from prison in 2007.

He died in June in suburban Detroit at age 83, leaving his property to his niece and sole heir, Ava Janus of Troy, Mich.

The auction highlights include the assisted-suicide machine called a Thanatron, a bulletproof vest and his sweaters. Kevorian's last painting, made a year before his death, also is for sale and is not among the group of disputed works. Titled "9th Amendment," the pop art-style work depicts a U.S. treasury bill with an image of James Madison.

The proceeds will go to Janus and the charity Kicking Cancer for Kids.

Successful bidders of the disputed paintings will have to make a 10 percent deposit that will be held in escrow. The estate attorney, Mayer Morganroth, said the paintings will be delivered as soon as the dispute with the museum is resolved.

The Watertown, Mass., museum said the paintings were donated by Kevorkian, who was of Armenian descent.

Its attorney, Harold W. Potter Jr., has said the museum believes in good faith that it owns the paintings and they will stay put until the dispute is resolved.

Both sides have filed lawsuits.

Many of the paintings depict death or dying. One is titled "Genocide" and features a bloody head being dangled by the hair and held by the hands of two soldiers, one wearing a German military uniform from World War II and the other wearing a Turkish uniform from World War I. Kevorkian painted the head using his blood.

Prospective buyers can watch and bid live on