Ex-nurse charged with encouraging Ottawa student, British man to kill themselves - trial date set.

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    Dec 20, 2010 6:49 PM GMT
    Minn. man in aiding suicide case gets trial date

    Ex-nurse charged with encouraging Ottawa student, British man to kill themselves

    Monday, December 20, 2010 CBC News

    ott-suicide-charges.jpg

    William Melchert-Dinkel faces two charges of assisting suicide in connection with the deaths of a Carleton University student and a man from the U.K. (CBC)
    The trial of a former nurse from Minnesota who is accused of encouraging an Ontario woman and a British man to kill themselves was set for April after a U.S. district court judge rejected his bid to have his case thrown out.


    William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, of Faribault was charged in April with two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, and the March 2008 drowning of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ont.

    Kajouji, a student at Ottawa's Carleton University, threw herself into Ottawa's Rideau River after struggling with escalating mental health problems during the months leading up to her death.

    Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel sought out depressed people in internet chat rooms and encouraged two of them to kill themselves.

    Melchert-Dinkel's lawyers tried to have the case dismissed because the Minnesota courts didn't have the jurisdiction to rule on a case where the effects occurred abroad.

    But Rice County District Court Judge Thomas Neuville denied the motion, as well as another defence motion that wanted the question of the constitutionality of assisted suicide statutes put to the state's Court of Appeal.

    The jury trial is scheduled to begin on April 11.

    The prosecutor contends Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging, and cruised the internet for potential victims. When he found them, he posed as a female nurse, feigned compassion and offered step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves.

    Although Melchert-Dinkel allegedly used aliases, law enforcement officials say they traced online correspondence, which advised and encouraged Kajouji and Drybrough to commit suicide, to a computer in Melchert-Dinkel's Faribault home.


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    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2010/12/20/ottawa-kajouji-minnesota-nurse.html#ixzz18gA8Rp1z
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    Dec 20, 2010 6:53 PM GMT
    Minn. man pleads not guilty to encouraging suicide


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    Nadia Kajouji is seen in this undated photo provided by her mother, Deborah Chevalier.

    (Associated Press)

    A former Minnesota nurse pleaded not guilty Friday to encouraging an English man and an Ontario woman to kill themselves, and his attorney asked the judge to dismiss the case.

    William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, of Faribault, Minn., requested a jury trial during his court appearance Friday.

    Melchert-Dinkel was charged in April with two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, and the 2008 drowning of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ont.

    A Carleton University student, Kajouji threw herself into Ottawa's Rideau River in March 2008 after struggling with escalating mental health problems in the months leading up to her death.
    Prosecutors said Melchert-Dinkel sought out depressed people in internet chat rooms and encouraged two of them to kill themselves.

    His lawyer, Terry Watkins, asked the judge to dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction by Minnesota courts, since "no part of this crime occurred here."

    "Tapping on a keyboard has no instrumental or elemental value in this crime. All effects occurred in Canada and England," Watkins said.

    But Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster disagreed, saying that "this is something that's fired back-and-forth, this is advice and encouragement happening instantaneously."

    "The encouragement originated from here in Rice County, Minnesota, in Faribault," Beaumaster added.

    Earlier this month, District Judge Thomas Neuville refused a defence request to dismiss the case on free speech grounds.

    Melchert-Dinkel's attorney had argued that the accused's email and internet conversations involved protected speech. Neuville disagreed in a Nov. 9 ruling, saying that speech that aids the suicide of another is not protected by the First Amendment.

    The prosecutor contends that Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging, and cruised the internet for potential victims. When he found them, he posed as a female nurse, feigned compassion and offered step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves.

    Although Melchert-Dinkel allegedly used aliases, law enforcement officials say they traced online correspondence advising and encouraging Kajouji and Drybrough to commit suicide to a computer in Melchert-Dinkel's Faribault home, the Faribault Daily News reports.

    Both sides have until Dec. 10 to submit briefs to Neuville. The judge will take the issue under advisement on Dec. 13 and will have 60 days to make a decision. If the judge rules the Rice County court has jurisdiction, the case will go to a jury trial. If the judge finds there is no jurisdiction, the case will be dismissed.


    Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/11/19/minnesota-nurse-counselled-suicide-kajouji.html#ixzz18gBfmcCM