Minnesota Court Reverses Convictions of Former Nurse Accused of Encouraging Suicides

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the convictions of a former nurse accused of encouraging two people whom he met online to kill themselves.

The court ruled that the language in the state’s assisted-suicide law that pertains to “encouraging” suicide is unconstitutional. However, it upheld the part of the law that bans “assisting” suicide.

Since a lower court judge did not rule on whether William Melchert-Dinkel “assisted” in the suicides, the case was sent back to a lower court for more proceedings.

His 360-day jail sentence had been on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.

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.