Former dentist convicted of three deaths released

COSTA MESA — A former Costa Mesa dentist convicted of killing three people in his dentist's chair in the 1980s was released from Folsom State Prison on Tuesday, his attorney said.

Tony Protopappas, 66, was headed home with his brother after serving 26 years of a 15-years-to-life prison sentence, according to Protopappas' attorney, Rich Pfeiffer.

Protopappas was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder for giving lethal amounts of a general anesthetic to Kim Andreassen, 23, Cathryn Jones, 31, and Patricia Craven, 13.

Protopappas was using narcotics heavily at the time and not licensed to administer the drug, according to Daily Pilot archives.

Protopappas was set to be released last year, but then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger blocked the parole board's recommendation. In June the 4th Appellate District's 3rd Division heard oral arguments challenging Schwarzenegger's decision.

The court reinstated parole for Protopappas on June 22, ruling that he was no longer a threat to society.

It's unclear where Protopappas will live, Pfeiffer said.

— Lauren Williams

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