Plastic surgeon’s death ruled an accident

Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 12:46pm

The death of a former plastic surgeon once convicted in the death of his girlfriend has been ruled accidental.

The Cook County, Ill., Medical Examiner’s Office ruled last month Christ Koulis died of bronchial pneumonia and opiate intoxication on March 26 at his Chicago home. He’d been living there while out on bond pending an appeal of his conviction.

A Williamson County jury convicted Koulis of criminally negligent homicide in September 2007 after his girlfriend, Lesa Buchanan, died of a drug overdose during a drug-fueled sex romp over July 4 weekend in 2005.

Koulis had been sentenced to two years in prison and fined $3,000.

Shortly after Koulis’ death, his attorney David Raybin filed an abatement by death motion, which allows a conviction to be eliminated when a defendant dies before an appeal is complete.

After learning Koulis’ death had been ruled an accident, Raybin said, “The manner of the person’s death has never really had an impact on the abatement doctrine, but it certainly helps me in the sense that his death was not an intentional suicide.”

On May 5, 2010, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals granted Raybin’s motion for abatement by death, scrubbing Koulis’ conviction, however the state appealed that decision to the Tennessee Supreme Court, where the matter is pending.