Minn. Man Free Pending Appeal In Suicides Case

FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) — A former nurse convicted of searching out suicidal people in online chat rooms and encouraging them to kill themselves will remain free pending his appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 49, of Faribault, Minn., was convicted in 2011 of two counts of aiding suicide. The Minnesota Court of Appeals last week rejected his argument that he was merely practicing free speech.

Rice County Judge Thomas Neuville ruled Monday that Melchert-Dinkel doesn’t have to report to jail. His attorney has 30 days to file the appeal.

Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in the deaths of 32-year-old Mark Drybrough, of Coventry, England, and 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, of Brampton, Ontario, in 2008.

Melchert-Dinkel faces about a year in jail unless his conviction is overturned.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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