- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Minnesota Supreme Court overturned the conviction of a former nurse, William Melchert-Dinkel, 51, who had been found guilty of encouraging two people to commit suicide.

Court testimony revealed the Mr. Melchert-Dinkel actually sought out people online who were depressed and then acted as if he were a suicidal female nurse and offered advice on how to commit suicide. He reportedly told police he did it because of the “thrill of the chase,” court documents said, The Daily Mail reported.

The court said that the state — which has a law against assisted suicide — couldn’t convict someone of simply “encouraging” someone to kill him or herself, because that crosses constitutional free speech lines, The Daily Mail reported. But the court still upheld the portion of Minnesota law that bars individuals from actively assisting in suicides.

Mr. Melchert-Dinkel’s case now heads back to a lower court for further review. He did face 360 days in jail for two counts of aiding in the suicides of two — Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, in 2005, and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, in 2008. Mr. Drybrough killed himself by hanging; Ms. Kajouji, by jumping into a frozen river.

The attorney for Mr. Melchert-Dinkel had argued that the portion of the state law that says that anyone who “intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other’s own life [is guilty]” was too broad, The Daily Mail reported.

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