A doctor whose device was used by a woman to commit suicide was charged Monday with murder.

Dr. Jack Kevorkian was charged in the death of Janet Adkins, 54, who traveled to suburban Detroit last June to use an apparatus he devised.He hooked her up to the intravenous device, then she pushed a button that triggered a flow of coma- and death-inducing drugs into her bloodstream.

Adkins of Portland, Ore., had been diagnosed a year earlier with Alzheimer's disease, a degenerative brain and nerve disorder.

"Janet Adkins was not terminally ill. She was not suffering any pain," Oakland County Prosecutor Richard Thompson said as he announced the murder charge. "For me not to charge Dr. Kevorkian would turn Oakland County into the suicide mecca of our nation."

If convicted, Kevorkian could be sentenced to life in prison. He has contended that assisting suicide is not a crime under Michigan law.

"How could he claim murder? I didn't kill anybody," Kevorkian said.