Assisted Suicide conviction of ex-nurse upheld in Minnesota

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Mark Dryborough

Mark Dryborough

William Melchert-Dinkel, the former Minnesota nurse had his conviction for assisting the suicide of Mark Dryborough (32) of Coventry England, upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeal.

Melchert-Dinkel, who encouraged and counselled people to commit suicide on internet chat sites, was sentenced in September 2014 to 178 days in jail in the deaths of Dryborough and Nadia Kajouji (18) of Brampton Ontario Canada. The Minnesota Court of Appeal upheld his conviction for assisting the suicide of Dryborough but overturned his conviction in the death of Kajouji.

The Associated Press reported:

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convict William Melchert-Dinkel, 53, of Faribault, of assisting the 2005 suicide of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England. 
It said there wasn't enough evidence to convict the ex-nurse of the lesser offense of attempting to assist the 2008 suicide of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario. 
Authorities have said that Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging, and that he sought out potential victims online, posing as a female nurse and feigning compassion.  
The appeals court said Melchert-Dinkel gave Drybrough detailed instructions on how to hang himself. But it said he didn't give specific instructions to Kajouji when he recommended that she hang herself. She jumped from a bridge into a frozen river in Ottawa, where she was going to college. 
Melchert-Dinkel served nearly six months in jail after his 2014 conviction and remains on 10 years of probation. While he told police he did it "for the thrill of the chase," he apologized at his sentencing and said he had repented.

The Associated Press reported that Terry Watkins, Melchert-Dinkel's lawyer, plans to appeal the conviction to the Minnesota State Supreme Court.

Links to previous articles concerning this case:

Final Exit Network found guilty in Minnesota assisted suicide case

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.

Former Minnesota nurse who admitted to counselling suicide of Canadian teen is going to jail

By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Nadia Kajouji

Nadia Kajouji

The Canadian Press reported that William Melchert-Dinkel, a former Minnesota nurse, has been sentenced to 178 days in jail for his part in the death of Canadian teen, Nadia Kajouji and Mark Drybrough, from Coventry England.

CP Press report stated:

William Melchert-Dinkel was ordered Wednesday to serve 178 days in jail. 
He was sentenced to nearly five years in prison, but he won't have to serve the prison term if he complies with conditions of probation that include the jail time. 
The 52-year-old was convicted in September of one count of assisting a suicide and one count of attempting to assist a suicide in the deaths of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, ON. 
The convictions came after the Minnesota Supreme Court narrowed the state's assisted-suicide law and reversed earlier convictions.

Link to the full article

Greed, personal motives can influence 'choice' to assist suicide

By Dr Annie Bukacek

I disagree with Barbara Coombs Lee, who implies that assisted suicide is legal in Montana (“Rebutting claims,” Sept. 16).

I am an internal medicine physician with over 20 years’ experience. In both 2011 and 2013, proposed bills to legalize assisted suicide failed to get through our legislature. In both years, these bills had sought to legalize assisted suicide for people with a prognosis of less than six months to live. A prognosis (prediction) does not mean dying. I have seen many cases where specialists have been wrong in predicting life span, sometimes by decades.

A Roundup man was recently charged with “aiding or soliciting suicide” of a 16-year-old girl here in Montana. His apparent motive was to prevent her testimony against him in another matter, i.e., by getting her to kill herself. According to an Associate Press article, he coerced her to actually take steps towards that goal, which fortunately did not result in her death.

Link to the full article