Man in aiding suicide case still wants it tossed

Published 2:57 pm Tuesday, December 14, 2010

FARIBAULT — An attorney for a former nurse accused of going online and encouraging two people to kill themselves wants the Minnesota Court of Appeals to address a free speech issue.

William Melchert-Dinkel faces two counts of aiding suicide. His attorney, Terry Watkins, says the case should be dismissed on free speech grounds but a judge disagreed.

So Watkins is now asking the judge to certify a free speech question to be put before the court of appeals. He says the alleged victims had already planned on committing suicide regardless of his client’s online conversations.

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But prosecutors say the defense’s question is hypothetical and doesn’t meet legal standards.

Watkins also says the case shouldn’t be in Minnesota because the suicides didn’t happen here. The victims were in England and Canada. Prosecutors disagree.