Terry Watkins, the lawyer for Melchert-Dinkel, the former nurse, who admitted to counseling via the internet several people to commit suicide. Yesterday's hearing was postponed as Watkins plans to challenge some of the evidence that was gathered against Melchert-Dinkel. Watkins also indicated his intention to petition to have the charges dropped.
The article described the case this way:
The article also quoted Michelle Goodwin, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who stated:
In April, Melchert-Dinkel was charged with assisted suicide for his involvement in the deaths of Nadia Kajouji, an 18-year-old Brampton girl who killed herself in March 2008, and Briton Mark Dryborough, who hanged himself in 2005 when he was 32.
Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse with a disturbing disciplinary history, has admitted to trolling online suicide chat rooms in search of severely depressed people to talk into suicide.
In conversations with police, he likened the activity to hunting, admitting he was motivated by "the thrill of the chase."
He told police his interest in death and suicide had become "an obsession," something he'd had to confront when certain of his morbid online chats had been discovered by his teenage daughters. He admitted to forming false suicide pacts with at least 10 depressed people contemplating suicide.
According to his statements to police contained in a criminal complaint, Melchert-Dinkel offered his victims psychological encouragement, "telling them it was OK to let go, that they would be better in heaven."
He is charged with two counts of assisted suicide. Each charge of the Minnesota statute, which targets anyone who "intentionally advises, encourages, or assists" in suicide, comes with a punishment of up to 15 years imprisonment and as much as a $30,000 fine.
"These cases when it comes to a jury and what a jury is going to buy, it's a much easier conviction when you have physical evidence rather than virtual evidence,"The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition advocates an amendment to the criminal code of Canada in a similar manner to Australia. The Australian government made a minor revision to the criminal code to ensure that the assisted suicide statute included cases that were counseled via the internet or other communications devices.
Harold Albrect, MP - (Kitchener-Conestoga) sponsored Motion 388 that passed unanimously through Canada's parliament. Motion 388 called on the Federal Government to ensure that the law protects people, such as Nadia Kajouji, from internet predators, whether the suicide predator was a Canadian or not.
In the meantime, Melchert-Dinkel is trolling the highways as a long-haul trucker. The judge is expected to rule on whether the trial will go forward on August 27.