Court Reverses Convictions in Aiding-Suicide Case

Created: 03/19/2014 10:31 AM

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Minnesota Supreme Court has reversed the convictions of a former nurse accused of encouraging two people whom he met online to kill themselves.

The court ruled Wednesday that the language in the state's assisted-suicide law is unconstitutional when it comes to "encouraging" suicides.

But it found the part of the law that bans "assisting" suicide is constitutional. It sent the case against 51-year-old William Melchert-Dinkel back to a lower court.

Melchert-Dinkel, 51, was convicted on two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of two people: Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008.

Melchert-Dinkel argued that the law was too broad and that his conduct was protected speech.

His 360-day jail sentence had been on hold pending the outcome of the appeal. Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel encouraged someone from England and someone from Canada to kill themselves.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Wind Chill Advisory

MN AREAS AFFECTED: Dodge; Fillmore; Mower; Olmsted
Expires: 2/28/2015 9:00 AM

Wind Chill Advisory

IA AREAS AFFECTED: Chickasaw; Clayton; Fayette; Floyd; Howard; Mitchell; Winneshiek
Expires: 2/28/2015 9:00 AM

Wind Chill Advisory

IA AREAS AFFECTED: Black Hawk; Bremer; Butler; Cerro Gordo; Franklin; Grundy; Hamilton; Hancock; Hardin; Jasper; Marshall; Poweshiek; Story; Tama; Winnebago; Worth; Wright
Expires: 2/28/2015 9:00 AM