Faribault man convicted of assisted suicide headed to jail tonight

 

Sentenced to six months under Minnesota’s assisted suicide law

William Melchert-Dinkel

William Melchert-Dinkel

FARIBAULT, MN — William Melchert-Dinkel will begin serving his jail sentence here tonight for violating Minnesota’s prohibition against assisting suicide. His case highlights the abhorrence of someone assisting another person in killing themselves.

“William Melchert-Dinkel assisted at least one person to kill themselves, and his repugnant act is being rightfully punished,” said Scott Fischbach, Executive Director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL). “Our hope is that the surviving family members of the deceased can now begin to find healing and relief.”

Following more than four years of legal battles, Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in September under Minnesota Statutes section 609.215, subdivision 1, which bans assisted suicide. A predator who went online and urged people to commit suicide while he watched, Melchert-Dinkel was found guilty of assisting the suicide of an English man and of attempting to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman. Rice Co. District Court Judge Tom Neuville sentenced him to six months in jail, minus the two days he had already served.

Melchert-Dinkel had admitted earlier to posing as a depressed female nurse in online chat rooms using several names. He claimed that no treatment had helped ease his suffering and entered into suicide pacts with his victims. He urged them to turn on webcams as they committed suicide so that they would not be alone. He had no intention of killing himself but secretly wanted to watch them die. Melchert-Dinkel admitted he entered into about 10 suicide pacts and believed five killed themselves.

A second assisted suicide case in Dakota Co. is moving forward. Two members of Final Exit Network, an assisted suicide advocacy group, have been charged with felonies in connection with the 2007 suicide of an Apple Valley woman. A pretrial hearing has been set for Dec. 8.

“Melchert-Dinkel and others like him, who prey on suicide-vulnerable people, need to be prevented from doing so,” Fischbach said. “The law is in place to protect citizens from criminals like Melchert-Dinkel who target those in need of compassion and help.”

Melchert-Dinkel plans to appeal his conviction.