Nurse Gets 360 Days In Jail For Aiding Suicides

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — A former Minnesota nurse convicted of aiding two suicides over the Internet was sentenced to 360 days in jail Wednesday.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, was convicted in March of two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of an English man and a Canadian woman.

Melchert-Dinkel will serve 320 days consecutively. The other 40 days will be served over the next 10 years on the anniversaries of the deaths. Judge Thomas Neuville said Melchert-Dinkel will serve two days for each victim for the next 10 years.

The judge’s sentence was far less than the maximum 15 years Melchert-Dinkel could have gotten on each count.

If Melchert-Dinkel violates conditions of his probation, which includes on access to the Internet and undergoing therapy, he could serve up to six years in prison.

Those in the courtroom said it was a very emotional sentencing with the mother of one of the victim’s making an appeal for the harshest possible sentence.

Deborah Chevalier is the mother of 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, who killed herself in 2008 after talking with Melchert-Dinkel online.

In court, Chevalier told a Rice County judge that she’ll never see her daughter become a lawyer, a wife or a mother. She said when Nadia died “the best parts of me died with her.”

“He didn’t get away with it like he thought he would and I think that’s fantastic and for that part of it I appreciate it and am very happy,” Chevalier said after the sentencing.

Chevalier also said she would have liked to see a longer sentence but is greatful that Minnesota was willing to prosecute the case.

Kajouji’s father, Mohamed Kajouji, said Melchert-Dinkel is a monster. He says his daughter was intelligent and just needed help.

Melchert-Dinkel was also ordered to pay Nadia’s family $30,000 in restitution.

Melchert-Dinkel’s lawyer said he’s definitely going to appeal. His lawyer maintains that what Melchert-Dinkel did isn’t legally wrong, though could be considered morally wrong and is protected under free speech.

“There is very clear case law, very clear decisions in regards to the first ammendment and freedom of speech and we’re going to have to see where the courts fall on this,” said Terry Watkins, Melchert-Dinkel’s lawyer.

Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging and sought out potential victims online. They say he posed as a suicidal female nurse to win his victims’ trust, then entered false suicide pacts and offered detailed instructions on how people could take their own lives.

Court documents say Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse from the southern Minnesota town of Faribault, told police he did it for the “thrill of the chase.” He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10 people, five of whom he believed killed themselves.

“I hope this case stands as a warning to other predators on the internet who advise, aides or encourages suicide that they will be held accountable,” said Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster.

Melchert-Dinkel declined a jury trial, leaving the judge to decide whether he was guilty. He was convicted in the death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and in the death of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • Brandon

    How exactly did he AID in these suicides? Sounds to me like he just talked them in to it. Darwinism, anybody?

    • Johnny

      Brandon, have you read the whole police report? If not don’t make a stupid comment like the one you just did.

  • Kevin

    Yet another instance of the government sticking their nose in the private affairs of people. Pretty soon the government will start taxing people for their death!

  • Bruce

    Yeah, he just talked to them and told them exactly what to get, how to administer it, and when to do ti so nobody could save them in time. Sure it was “just talking” but it was very evil and poisonous talking indeed.

    • Mr. Mark

      so he told them info they could have found themselves anyways on the internet, I think the guy is disturbed, but not a killer

  • Mike

    Kevin. Another person giving an opinion on something you know nothing about. He is a health professional giving other nurses a bad name. He was NOT assisting anyone – he was encouraging their death. It has NOTHING to do with the government. He is a man that has enjoyed other people’s pain for years. Check his records.He abused nursing home patients

  • k8

    Yes what he did was morallly wrong/.indecent/sick etc..However these people that took their OWN lives were in control,adults,responsible for their actions. Sorry for their families pain,but they most likely wouldve attempted suicide regardless of his advice.

  • tom

    Good old minnesota friendly! The best in the union to commit a crime!

  • Pennie

    Not what I would call justice. 360 days in jail plus a couple of days in jail on the anniversary of the deaths, sounds like a slap on the hands to me. This Melchert-Dinkel guy is very sick and messed. Justice isn’t always just.

  • Mr. Mark

    he didn’t kill them

  • WHAT?????

    I think what the people that are saying that he should be sentenced longer do not realize is that nobody here is saying what he did was right, moral, or even human. That being said, if this is considered aiding a suicide then what else on the web could be a crime? The only thing that people are defending is the right to free speech. If you do not think this is covered so be it, that is your opinion, other see it differently and are nervous that this may affect other rulings down the road. When you start screwing around with anything like free speech this could mess up hundreds of other things that we all do on a daily basis. Why do you think that all these kind of cases are very sensitive? Before you start attacking people saying they are monsters for thinking this guy should not have been charged with this look at the whole picture. Freedom of speech is something to fight for even if it does cost a few lives along the way. Before you attack again, not saying I condone any of what this guy has done.

  • WHAT?????

    WCCO 1s again thank you for not posting my comment even though it was not profane, attacking others, or supporting this Dbag. A news blog that censors free speech on a story that is all about what is free speech is just the cherry on the sunday when it comes to irony. Thank you for being a joke!

  • Dave Seavy

    Its curious to see how this will turn out in the upper courts. In some respects, I’m surprised Englad and Canada couldn’t prosecute him, since the effects of his crimes were there, not here. This is a very grey area, so don’t be surprised if it drags out for many years.

  • Hmm

    You can get 18 DWIs and serve the same amount of time. Interesting.

  • swerver

    The 1 gal was smoking, i coulda saved her life just by dating her..

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