Editor’s note. This appears on the blog of Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Coalition.
William Melchert-Dinkel who was sentenced in early May for his part in the deaths of Nadia Kajouji (18) who was a first year student at Carlton University in Ottawa and Mark Drybrough (32) who died in 2005 in the UK has launched an appeal of his convictions.
Melchert-Dinkel acted as a internet suicide predator by searching through chatrooms and help sites for people who were depressed and willing to discuss, online, suicide. He established relationships with the vulnerable persons and then tried to convince the person to commit suicide on front of their webcam. As disgusting as it is, it appears that Melchert-Dinkel is a Suicide voyeur.
The Toronto Sun is reporting:
Minnesota defence attorney Terry Watkins plans to argue that former nurse William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech when he assumed a false identity as a depressed teenager contemplating suicide and urged the victims to kill themselves online.
Kajouji jumped into the Rideau River in April 2008.
There is also evidence that Melchert-Dinkel contacted at least 20 people in online chat rooms devoted to suicide.
He was sentenced last month to 360 days in jail.
He has remained free since the conviction and will remain so until the appeal is heard. It’s not yet known how quickly that will happen.
Kajouji’s family decried the short sentence as an injustice.
[For more about the case]