Former dentist Tony Protopappas
A former Costa Mesa dentist who served more than a quarter of a century in prison for murder after three of his patients died in his dental chair from improper use of anesthesia in the 1980s was paroled from Folsom Prison Tuesday.
Tony Protopappas, who made national headlines in the early 1980s when he was convicted of three counts of second-degree murder, was picked up by his brother at the gates of Folsom Prison shortly after 9 a.m. Tuesday, said Santa Ana attorney Rich Pfeiffer, Protopappas’s appellate lawyer.
“He was very, very thankful,” Pfeiffer said. “He was crying tears of joy.”
Protopappas was ordered released on parole in June by the Fourth District Court of Appeal in June in a ruling that overturned a decision by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. Schwarzenegger reversed a decision by a state parole board granting Protopappas’ release because he no longer presents a risk of danger to others.
Pfeiffer then appealed Schwarzenegger’s reversal, insisting that there is no evidence that Protopappas is an unreasonable risk to society, Pfeiffer said Protopappas should have been released from prison last week under the appellate decision, adding that he has filed a writ seeking to hold prosecutors in the state attorney general’s office in contempt of court for not allowing the former dentist to be released on time.
Protopappas is now 65 years old and will NEVER practice dentistry again. But, three patients are dead and will have no life, because of his grossly negligent conduct.
Granted he never intended to kill his victims, but he did, and for that he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Rejects Parole for Deadly Dentist Tony Protopappas