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Former dentist who killed 3 patients released on parole

Tony Protopappas, a former Costa Mesa dentist who killed three patients by accidentally over-medicating them in 1983, was released from prison.

August 3, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Costa Mesa dentist convicted of killing three patients, including a 13-year-old girl, is a free man.

Tony Protopappas, who accidentally gave those patients lethal doses of anesthesia in the early 1980s, was granted parole for serving more than 25 years.

Protopappas was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder in 1984 and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for killing 13-year-old Patricia Craven, 23-year-old Kim Andreassen and 31-year-old Cathryn Jones.

Protopappas was granted parole June 22 by Fourth District appellate justices, overturning a decision by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. His parole did not become effective until last Thursday, however, he wasn't released until Tuesday.

Protopappas' lawyer is now demanding prosecutors be held in contempt of court for his client's late release.