Dentistry,  Tony Protopappas

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Rejects Parole for Deadly Dentist Tony Protopappas

Former Orange County dentist Tony Protopappas

Arnold’s decision, although RIGHT, will probably be overturned by the California Appeals Court.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has rejected parole for a Southern California man who killed three of his dental patients in the 1980s by administering fatal doses of a general anesthetic, the man’s attorney said Thursday.

Schwarzenegger made the decision on Dec. 15 even though a panel of appellate court judges and a state parole board favored release for Tony Protopappas, attorney Rich Pfeiffer told the AP.

In late 1983 and early 1984, Protopappas gave fatal doses of a general anesthetic to Kim Andreassen, 23; Cathryn Jones, 31; and Patricia Craven, 13, in his Costa Mesa office.

Protopappas was using narcotics at the time and wasn’t licensed to administer the drug.

Protopappas, 65, has served more than 25 years of his 15 years-to-life sentence for three counts of second-degree murder. A proposition passed by California voters in 1988 gives the governor the power to reverse parole decisions in murder cases.

The WAPO report about the narcotics is not correct since there was little or no regulation of IV conscious sedation at the time. Protopappas was using a drug cocktail of Valium, Demerol, et al. and exhibited extreme disregard for his patients leading to their death.

Here is the report of findings:


I was privileged to serve on the California Dental Association Council on Legislation shortly after the Protopappas conviction and worked on sedation legislation to better protect the people. At the time regulation of these drugs and sedation protocols were scant since the dentistry profession regulated its own – not bad actors like Tony Protopappas who abused the system and his patients.

Should Protopappas be set free on parole after killing three people?

How is this case any different from that of Susan Atkins?


  • Jim hedgecock

    I am Dr. Jim Hedgecock. During the early 1980s I was a neighbor and patient of Tony Protopappas. He sold everything, including his home to pay for his defense, as a result during the trail I had him stay in my gym/guest bedroom. One of the big points in his trail was his insistence that the patient’s gums were not turning blue. He argued that he knew the difference between pink and blue and the dental assistance were wrong when they told him the patient’s gums were turning blue. Here is the thing – Tony does not know it, but he is red colorblind. I know this because after he was convicted I started using the spare room again as my gym. One night I turned on the TV and noticed that the people’s faces were green – looked like Martians. I adjusted the picture and did not think any further about it until a few months later when a friend came and stayed in the room. One night I went into the room while he was watching TV and the faces were green again. I started adjusting the color and my friend told me to leave it alone, that it looked fine to him and that he had adjusted it like that. He told me that he is red colorblind and the faces looks normal to him the way he had it adjusted. It was then that I realized that Tony had not realized that he is red colorblind. I think this is significant, since, as I recall, the jurors said that his insistence that the assistance were wrong made them feel that he was arrogant. He was not arrogant but honestly thought his assitant was wrong. I was in court the day he testified and it is true, he was very belligerent that he knew the difference between pink and blue. Sadly if he had known that he is colorblind these deaths could have been prevented.