EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 4, 2009

Doctor who killed wife's lover wants to practice medicine again

By Crystal Bozek

ANDOVER — Convicted killer and former plastic surgeon James Kartell is fighting to have his medical license reinstated in New Hampshire, just over a year after being released from prison.

Kartell, who was convicted in 2000 of shooting his estranged wife's lover in a Methuen hospital, applied for reinstatement with the New Hampshire Board of Medicine in the fall but was denied Jan. 7. The Andover resident is appealing the decision.

In its denial, the New Hampshire Board of Medicine stated: "Dr. Kartell has not demonstrated to the reasonable satisfaction of the Board that he is of good professional character."

"Dr. Kartell has committed certain acts that would constitute grounds for discipline because of his conviction of voluntary manslaughter."

Penny Taylor, administrator of the New Hampshire Board of Medicine, said Kartell has requested a hearing where he will plead his case to the board.

"No hearing date has been set," Taylor said.

At the time of his indictment, Kartell practiced in Nashua, N.H., Chelmsford and Andover, specializing in breast enhancement and liposuction.

A jury found Kartell, 68, guilty of voluntary manslaughter in 2000 for shooting Janos Vajda during a dispute in his wife's hospital room.

Vajda, a North Andover resident, was dating Kartell's estranged wife, Dr. Susan Kamm. She had moved in with Vajda and asked Kartell for a divorce.

Kartell had walked into Holy Family Hospital in Methuen on Feb. 23, 1999, with a loaded .38-caliber revolver and extra ammunition. Vajda was visiting Kamm, who was hospitalized with pneumonia.

The two men fought over who should leave, during which time Kartell shot Vajda in the stomach and then execution style in the head.

Kartell has maintained his innocence since his arrest, saying he shot Vajda in self-defense as the man punched and kicked him.

But witnesses testified that the Andover doctor said, "Now, I'm going to get you" and shot Vajda close range.

While Kartell completed his eight-year prison sentence in the Pondville Correctional Center on Oct. 2, 2007, he has continued to appeal his case, asking for a new trial and a reversal of his manslaughter conviction.

He lost his latest appeal — his third — last summer, but continues to push for another day in court.

Phone calls left at Kartell's Brady Loop home and with his attorney, Michael Traft of Boston, were not returned yesterday.

Kartell had temporarily surrendered his New Hampshire medical license after being arrested for the murder. The board later revoked his license after he was convicted.

It is unknown whether Kartell has applied for reinstatement in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine would not divulge whether there was an application, saying the information was not public.

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