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MN man charged with rare assisted suicide crime for internet speech.

A former Minnesota nurse was charged Friday with aiding the suicides of a British man and Canadian woman by allegedly encouraging them to kill themselves in Internet chat rooms.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 47, is charged under a rarely used state law that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a fine of $30,000.

The man is said to have posed as a female nurse on the internet to encourage dozens of people, including a man in the UK, to commit suicide. It is claimed that he wanted to watch his victims die using a webcam.

Melchert-Dinkel, who is married with two children, allegedly pretended to be a compassionate nurse in internet chat rooms – calling himself names including "Falcon Girl" and "Cami D" – in order to prey on depressed people.

He has been charged with aiding the suicide of Mark Drybrough, 32, who hanged himself in Coventry in 2005. Melchert-Dinkel is also accused of assisting with the suicide of Nadia Kajouji, 18, who drowned in a river in Ottawa, Canada.

The charges follow investigative work going back five years by three British women, including Mr Drybrough's mother. She joined forced with Katherine Lowe, from Wolverhampton, who alleges that Melchert-Dinkel encouraged her over the internet to commit suicide.

The third woman to help was Celia Blay, who started making inquiries after a contact of hers revealed that she was entering into a suicide pact with an American woman she had "met" through the internet.

The findings of the three women were passed to US investigators who have now concluded there is ample evidence to charge their suspect.

The MN law is very general and appears to leave no room for free speech and any sort of verbal encouragement appears unlawful. And an unsuccessful attempt at suicide counts...though what constitutes and attempt is unclear.

609.215 SUICIDE.
Subdivision 1.Aiding suicide.
Whoever intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other’s own life may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 15 years or to payment of a fine of not more than $30,000, or both.

Subd. 2.Aiding attempted suicide.
Whoever intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another who attempts but fails to take the other’s own life may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years or to payment of a fine of not more than $14,000, or both.


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Added: Apr-26-2010 
By: gregsto
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Tags: minnesota, nurse, suicide, assisted suicide, crime, Melchert-Dinkel
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