Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
8/9/11 at 02:08 AM 0 Comments

Murder by Suicide... Internet Predator Claims Right to Free Speech, Even if it costs Others their Lives

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One thing cops know is that some people enjoy murder. That is their motive. Your average person does not understand this.

This month a court in Minnesota decided the case of William Melchert-Dinkel, an ex-nurse who trolled the Internet for victims the way sharks hunt for bleeding prey. He looked for depressed people so he could talk them into committing suicide on video.

The reason he did it was he liked to watch people kill themselves. The prosecutor in his case said, “Melchert-Dinkel wanted to see people die.” While this is appalling to the average person, to the police, it’s nothing new.

Melchert-Dinkel assumed an Internet identity of a young nurse working in an emergency room, calling himself Cami, Falcon Girl or Li Dao. “I only want to help you do what’s best for you,” Cami would tell victims, offering technical advice on ropes and nooses as well as medical expertise, and even entering into suicide pacts with many of these people.
“If you wanted to do a hanging,” he told 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, “we could do it together so it would not have been so scary for you.” She drowned herself in a frozen river instead.

Melchert-Dinkel counseled Mark Drybough, age 32, that “You can easily hang from a door.” A witness claimed that Melchert-Dinkel told her he watched Drybough hang himself via webcam, but he denied that.

Melchert-Dinkel’s lawyers argued that their client was exercising his right to free speech, and that he could not be guilty because the two victims were so depressed they would have killed themselves without him.
The judge did not buy it.

“These arguments are irrelevant,” said Judge Thomas Neuville. “The predisposition of a suicide victim actually makes the victim more vulnerable to encouragement or advice, and their deaths more imminent and foreseeable.”

In a strange coincidence, billboards are popping up in Florida, Cleveland and Boston as part of a national campaign to promote suicide among people who have “irreversible illnesses.” Diabetes, polio, asthma, emphysema and the common cold are not curable, but whatever.

It doesn’t take a genius to see the overlap with the Minnesota case.
The spokesperson for Final Exit Network said the sign is all about “self-deliverance,” which sounds uncannily like Cami’s “I want you to do what’s best for you.”

Right now four members of the Final Exit Network are facing charges of assisting a suicide in Georgia. Their defense is similar to Melchert-Dinkel’s — the law infringes on their right to free speech.

“Attorneys for the Final Exit Network said their clients do not assist with suicide,” according to an article from an Atlanta newspaper posted on Final Exit’s website. “Instead, they claim the group offers only support to those seeking their services and observes their deaths.”

Observes their deaths, watches their deaths, it’s all the same thing.
And by the way, why do they need to watch?

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 References

Anderson, Joel. Attorneys of the right-to-die group, Final Exit Network, argued that Georgia’s statute covering assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 14, 2010, posted on Final Exit website.

Dunbar, Elizabeth. Guilty verdict in suicide case; appeal likely. Minnesota Public Radio, March 15, 2011.

Knutson, Leif. Ex-Nurse Convicted in 2 Suicide Encouragement Cases, FOX 9 News, the Twin Cities, MN, March 16, 2011.

Leibowitz, Barry. William Melchert-Dinkel, ex-nurse, convicted of aiding suicides by targeting the weak online. CBS-TV News, March 16, 2011.

Watt, Nick, Marko Zorro, Mary Flynn. A Former Nurse Faces Charges on Assisting the Suicides of People He Met in Online Chat Rooms. ABC News, June 8, 2010.

Winter, Michael. Former Minn. nurse guilty of using chats to encourage 2 suicides. USA Today, March 15, 2011

UPDATES:


 May 19, 2011 Letter from a victim’s mother regarding the case

Below, a letter from Nadia Kajouji’s mother, Deborah Chevalier,
responding to the article by Senator Blewett and Representative Barrett:

Re: Aid in Dying: No Victory for Nadia

Dear Editor:
My daughter, Nadia Kajouji, killed herself after entering a
suicide pact with another young woman she had met online. Cami was
actually a middle-aged man, William Melchert-Dinkel.
 http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2010-2011/justicefornadia/

I was disturbed to read the article by Anders Blewett and
Dick Barrett celebrating the defeat of SB 169, which would have
increased penalties for suicide predators. The article states that
the defeat of SB 169 was a “victory for individual rights.” I disagree.

William Melchert-Dinkel trolled the internet impersonating
young women so as to induce victims to hang themselves in front of a
webcam so that he could watch. Instant messages from Melchert-Dinkel
to Nadia include the following:

“Get a yellow nylon rope about eight feet. . . . [L]ook around your
apartment for somewhere to hang from. I can help you with the cam
when you need to.”

Melchert-Dinkel was recently convicted for encouraging and
causing Nadias suicide.

This last January, I came to Montana to speak to your
legislators in support of SB 169. My hope was to send a clear
message to people like Melchert-Dinkel, who encourage others to
commit suicide, that their conduct is illegal and will be
punished. My hope was to protect young people like my daughter. I
am disappointed that SB 169 did not pass.

I also invite you to visit my website in Nadias memory,
 www.nadiaslight.ca Our message is:
“There is hope. There is help.” Thank you.

Deborah Chevalier
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

May 6, 2011: Internet Predator receives sentencing
Melchert-Dinkel was given a sentence of 360 days in jail and fines and restitution payments equaling $47,450. His actual sentence was for two – 15 year sentences, with 15 years probation. If he breaks his probation by committing similar crimes, he would supposedly have to serve the full-sentence.

Melchert-Dinkel was also told that he must do 8 hours of community service each year in the months of March and July for 10 years, that he must serve 2 days in jail on the anniversary of the deaths of Kajouji (18) and Drybrough (32) for 10 years (nice touch, Judge), he cannot have any internet access, other than for work, he cannot be employed within the health care profession, and he must continue therapy.

Jane St. Clair has worked as a production staff member of the television program Sesame Street in New York City, at Channel 11/PBS-TV in Chicago, and as a newspaper reporter/photographer for the Louisville-Courier Journal and weekly papers in rural Indiana and Appalachian Kentucky. She has published over fifty children's short stories and adult fiction in literary magazines such as Thema, QWF, and Red Rock Review. Her stories also appear in four literary anthologies, including Times of Grace, Times of Sorrow published by the University of Nebraska. She is the 2007 winner of the True Life Story contest, 2006 first-place winner of The Writers Network contest, American Accolades, Hollywood's Next Success, and 2005 winner in television writing for Scriptapalooza. She has also authored two nonfiction books and hundreds of web articles. Her series on financial literacy for children won a national award and has had over a million " hits." Her first novel, Walk Me to Midnight, was published by OakTara. www.janestclair.net

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