By Alex Schadenberg, International Chair - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Members of the Final Exit Network (FEN) were found guilty of assisting the suicide death and interfering with the death scene in the death Doreen Dunn (57) in 2007. Dunn was living with chronic depression but she was not not terminally ill.
The jury returned with a guilty verdict after a 90 minute deliberation.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 24. FEN has stated that it will appeal the convictions.
According to an article in the LaCrosse Tribune:
Dakota County prosecutor Elizabeth Swank told jurors that the evidence showed that two members of Final Exit Network went to Dunn's home in Apple Valley to assist her suicide. They then removed the equipment that she used for suicide so that it appeared she had died of natural causes.
Dunn's husband of 29 years arrived home on May 30, 2007, to find her dead on the couch. Swank said Dunn had a blanket pulled up to her neck with her hands folded on her chest.
Swank said that despite Dunn's pain and depression, she had no life-threatening illness and her family was puzzled by her death. There were good things happening in her life: Her daughter who had been in Africa for about a year was coming home the next day and her son's fiancee was scheduled to give birth that week. However, her husband was also planning to move out, the prosecutor said.
Robert Rivas, the lawyer for the assisted suicide group, did not dispute that Jerry Dincin and Larry Egbert were present at Dunn's death, but he disputes that they assisted her suicide.
The Final Exit Network has been prosecuted in several assisted suicide cases. In Georgia, John Celmer, who was depressed after recovering from cancer, died by suicide with the assistance of the Final Exit Network. Celmer's widow Susan Celmer, testified against the Final Exit Network. The Final Exit Network assists the suicide of people at the most vulnerable time of their life. Last year Larry Egbert, the medical director for the Final Exit Network, lost his medical license in Maryland.
In October 2014, William Melchert-Dinkel, of Minnesota, was convicted in the assisted suicide deaths of Canadian teenager, Nadia Kajouji, and and Mark Drybrough, from England.