The proposed bill seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined. The bill calls these practices, “aid in dying.” The bill does not, however, require that a patient be dying. Indeed, “eligible” patients may have years or even decades to live.
The bill also legalizes undue influence as that term is traditionally defined. The bill is otherwise stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse. I urge you to vote “No” on SF 1880. Don’t be fooled.
Attorney James Backstrom announced that Final Exit Network, Inc. (FEN) was
sentenced today by Judge Christian Wilton to a stay of execution of 21 months in
prison (while a corporate entity cannot be sent to prison, under Minnesota law
this sanction establishes that the offense is a felony) and 15 years of
probation, and ordered to pay a fine of $30,000 and approximately $3,000 in
restitution in connection with assisting Doreen Dunn in committing suicide on
May 30, 2007, at her home in Apple Valley. FEN will remain on probation until
the fine and restitution is paid. On May 14, 2015, a Dakota County Jury found
Final Exit Network, Inc. guilty of Assisting Another to Commit Suicide and
Interference with a Dead Body or Death Scene.
commented: “What Final Exit Network does in aiding vulnerable and depressed
persons, like Doreen Dunn, in taking their own lives and then covering up the
truth about what has occurred from the victim’s family and investigating
agencies is both legally wrong and morally reprehensible. We are pleased to
have held this organization accountable in this case.” Backstrom extended his
sympathy to the family and friends of Doreen Dunn for their great loss.
individual defendants charged in connection with Doreen Dunn’s death still have
charges pending: 1) Dr.
Lawrence Egbert, age 87 of Baltimore, Maryland, is charged with Assisting
Another to Commit Suicide (a felony) and Interference with a Dead Body or Death
Scene (a gross misdemeanor). His next court appearance is on December 7, 2015,
in Hastings; and 2) Roberta
Massey, age 70 of Bear, Delaware, is charged with Assisting Another to Commit
Suicide (a felony). Ms. Massey’s case is on hold due to her own serious medical
praised Assistant County Attorney Elizabeth Swank and Chief Deputy Phil
Prokopowicz who prosecuted the case. Backstrom thanked the Apple Valley Police
Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation who aided in the
investigation of this case.
you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440
Minnesota judge convicts ex-nurse of assisting suicide of English man he encouraged online
Article by: STEVE KARNOWSKI , Associated Press
Updated: September 9, 2014 - 4:25 PM
MINNEAPOLIS - An ex-nurse who admitted going online and encouraging people to kill themselves was convicted Tuesday of assisting the suicide of an English man and attempting to assist in the suicide of a Canadian woman, following a legal battle that has spanned more than four years and led to the reversal of part of a Minnesota law that outlaws the practice.
Rice County District Judge Thomas Neuville ruled that the state proved that William Melchert-Dinkel, 52, of Faribault, assisted in the suicide of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England. He said the state failed to prove Melchert-Dinkel 's assistance was a direct cause of the suicide of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, but found him guilty on a lesser charge of attempting to help her take her life.
Melechert-Dinkel's attorney, Terry Watkins, did not immediately return messages seeking reaction to the verdict. But the prosecutor, Rice County Attorney Paul Beaumaster, said the judge meticulously followed a Minnesota Supreme Court decision from last March that narrowed the state's assisted suicide law.
"This has been a rather long and drawn out process, which has been difficult for the families," Beaumaster said. "... I really hope this helps the families find some closure."
The mothers of Drybrough and Kajouji did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Neuville scheduled a sentencing hearing for Oct. 15. The same judge had also convicted Melchert-Dinkel in 2011 of encouraging the two suicides but put his 360-day jail sentence on hold pending appeals.
"The Defendant did not physically assist either Drybrough or Kajouji in taking their own life," the judge wrote in a ruling dated Monday but not released until Tuesday. "However, there is significant evidence that the Defendant assisted Drybrough, and attempted to assist Kajouji, commit suicide by providing them with specific instructions and methodology for completing the suicide."
Kajouji jumped into a frozen river in 2008, and Drybrough hanged himself in 2005.
In his ruling, Neuville said Melchert-Dinkel provided both Drybrough and Kajouji with detailed information about how to hang themselves, and that Drybrough followed his instructions. However, he noted that while the defendant gave Kajouji detailed and specific instructions about hanging, she did not follow them and chose another method. So the judge said Melchert-Dinkel was guilty only of attempting to assist her suicide.
The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Melchert-Dinkel 's original conviction in March, saying part of the state law that made it illegal to "advise" or "encourage" suicides was an unconstitutionally broad restriction on free speech. However, the justices upheld a part of the law that makes it a crime to "assist" in someone's suicide. The ruling said speech alone can be used to assist or enable a suicide if it is narrowly targeted to one person and provides that person with what is needed to carry out the act.
The Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings because the judge did not rule at the time on whether Melchert-Dinkel actually assisted in the two suicides.
Evidence in the case showed Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out depressed people online. He posed as a suicidal female nurse, feigning compassion and offering step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves. He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10, five of whom he believed killed themselves.
By Associated Press, Updated: August 8, 2014 - 2:20 PM
FARIBAULT, Minn. — Prosecutors in Minnesota argued Friday that a former nurse should be convicted of assisting suicide for sending emails and other online communications in which he urged two people to kill themselves and gave them information on how to do it.
William Melchert-Dinkel, 52, of Faribault, was back in court more than three years after he was convicted of encouraging suicides. The Minnesota Supreme Court earlier this year reversed those convictions, saying the state's law against encouraging or advising suicides was too broad.
The high court however upheld part of the law that makes it a crime to assist someone's suicide, and attorneys for both sides returned to Rice County District Court to argue over whether Melchert-Dinkel's conduct qualified.
Melchert-Dinkel was originally convicted in 2011 in the deaths of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, and Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England. Kajouji jumped into an icy river in 2008 and Drybrough hanged himself in 2005.
Evidence at that trial showed Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out depressed people online, posing as a suicidal female nurse, faking compassion and offering detailed instructions on how they could kill themselves. Police said he told them he did it for "the thrill of the chase."
In an hour long hearing Friday, Assistant Rice County Attorney Terence Swihart said the state Supreme Court had defined "assist" as providing a person with what they need to commit suicide. Melchert-Dinkel met that definition by providing information, he argued, according to the Faribault Daily News (http://bit.ly/1sFCW7x ).
"He turned Kajouji from someone who was terrified to die into someone who killed herself. He provided Nadia Kajouji with what she needed to commit suicide. ... He dissuaded Drybrough from using other methods, such as overdosing, which was his preferred method, because it's unpredictable, something he knew as a nurse."
Defense attorney Terry Watkins said that while Melchert-Dinkel encouraged the suicides, he didn't have a knowing role in the commission of the acts and there is no evidence that his advice led to the suicides.
"There was no nexus between what (Kajouji) did and what (Melchert-Dinkel) said," said Watkins. "Although on its face Drybrough looks like a case involving assisting, it's not. He had decided on hanging as a second method long before he met Mr. Melchert-Dinkel."
Evidence presented earlier in the case included emails in which Melchert-Dinkel gave Drybrough details on how to hang himself, stating "just a sturdy knot is very much all one needs." Internet chats with Kajouji suggest he posed as a compassionate, suicidal woman who promised she would die shortly after Kajouji. In one conversation, he allegedly told her hanging would be better than jumping, and: "im just tryin to help you do what is best for you not me."
District Judge Thomas Neuville took the case under advisement and was to issue a decision within 30 days.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The state’s highest court has agreed to hear the appeal of a former nurse whw was convicted of searching out suicidal people in online chat rooms and encouraging them to kill themselves.
William Melchert-Dinkel of Faribault was convicted in 2011. He argues he was merely practicing “free speech.” The Minnesota Supreme Court will review his appeal, but it hasn’t set a date.
Melchert-Dinkel was convicted in the deaths of a 32-year-old man from England and an 18-year-old student from Ontario. He faces about a year in jail unless his conviction is overturned.