It sounds like a bizarre scene out of a horror movie — a “nurse” who lurks on the Internet, urging people to commit suicide and then watching the act on web cam. Sadly, the story is true, and William Francis Melchert-Dinkel from Minnesota has finally been convicted of assisting the suicide of an English man and of attempting to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman.
Melchert-Dinkel admits that he posed as a depressed female nurse in online chat rooms where he entered into suicide pacts with his victims. Using his warped sense of “compassion,” he urged victims to turn on their web cams when committing suicide so they would not be alone. This man is a monster, preying on vulnerable people seeking companionship and help.
Mark Drybrough of Coventry, England was convinced to hang himself in 2005. An 18-year-old, Nadia Kajouji of Canada, jump;ed into a frozen river and drowned in 2008. Melchert-Dinkel gave his victims instructions on how to hang themselves. It is believed he had contact with 50 other suicidal persons online.
Melchert-Dinkel was initially convicted of assisted suicide under Minnesota law. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that “advising” or “encouraging” suicide is protected speech under the First Amendment. The case was remanded to a lower court where he was finally convicted of assisting a suicide.
Melchert-Dinkel will be sentenced on October 15. He plans to appeal his conviction.