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Online Suicides Case Back in Lower Court

FARIBAULT, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota prosecutors are arguing that an ex-nurse should be convicted of assisting suicide for online communications in which he urged two people to kill themselves.

William Melchert-Dinkel was initially convicted of encouraging the suicides. But the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed that, saying the state law against encouraging suicides is too broad.

The high court upheld part of the law that makes it a crime to “assist” a suicide, and sent the case back to district court.

A prosecutor argued Friday that 52-year-old Melchert-Dinkel met the definition for “assisting” by providing information on how to commit suicide.

The Faribault Daily News reported that a defense attorney said there’s no evidence that Melchert-Dinkel’s advice led to the suicides.

The judge took the case under advisement and will rule within 30 days.

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