msnbc.com news services
updated 12/30/2010 1:50:37 PM ET 2010-12-30T18:50:37

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has rejected parole for a Southern California dentist who killed three people in the 1980s by administering fatal doses of anesthetic.

A panel of appellate court judges and a state parole board voted earlier this year to release 65-year-old Tony Protopappas. He has served more than 25 years of his 15-to-life sentence for second-degree murder.

But the Daily Pilot reported that Schwarzenegger rejected the bid on Dec. 15.

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

Protopappas was using narcotics heavily at the time and did not have a license to administer the anesthetic, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Schwarzenegger's decision came as no surprise to Protopappas' lawyer, Rich Pfeiffer.

"The only thing that has changed since the court's last opinion is Tony got a much more favorable psychological evaluation and has continued to take positive steps in his journey through rehabilitation," Pfeiffer wrote in an e-mail, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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