Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Former Minnesota nurse convicted of attempting to assist the suicide of Canadian teen.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Nadia Kajouji
William Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse from Minnesota, was convicted of assisted suicide in the death of Mark Drybrough from England and convicted of attempting to assist the suicide of Canadian teenager Nadia Kajouji. Melchert-Dinkel preyed upon suicidal members of a chat-room and urged Drybrough and Kajouji to allow him to watch them die by suicide.

An Associated Press article reported that:

In his ruling, Judge Neuville said Melchert-Dinkel provided both Drybrough and Kajouji with detailed information about how to hang themselves, and that Drybrough followed his instructions. However, he noted that while the defendant gave Kajouji detailed and specific instructions about hanging, she did not follow them and chose another method. So the judge said Melchert-Dinkel was guilty only of attempting to assist her suicide.
Melchert-Dinkel was found guilty in 2011 of encouraging the suicide deaths of Drybrough and Kajouji. He appealed his convictions and in October 2012, the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal.

March 19, 2014 the Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the convictions by deciding that encouraging a suicide is protected as free-speech. At the same time the Supreme Court upheld Minnesota's state law prohibiting assisting a suicide of a person.

The Associated Press article, today, stated that:
Evidence in the case showed Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out depressed people online. He posed as a suicidal female nurse, feigning compassion and offering step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves. He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10, five of whom he believed killed themselves.
Melchert-Dinkel's lawyer, Terry Watkins, told the media that they planned to appeal the decision.

Rice County prosecutor, Paul Beaumaster, said that the judge meticulously followed a Minnesota Supreme Court decision from last March that narrowed the state's assisted suicide law.

The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition holds that it is a crime to counsel or assist a suicide. Most people contemplating suicide need support. Suicide voyeurs, like Melchert-Dinkel, take advantage of people at a vulnerable time in their life.

People need to be protected from assisted suicide in all of its forms.

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