Three years after the death of Nadia Kajouji, William Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse from Minnesota, was sentenced for his actions as a internet suicide predator. There are many questions concerning the length of the jail sentence, but at least the Minnesota court carried out the prosecution, a prosecution that could have been carried out by Canadian authorities as well.
The Minnesota Star Tribune quoted Judge Neuville as stating to Melchert-Dinkel: “The court finds that you were stalking and soliciting people to die. … You knew it was wrong.”
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition (EPC) is pleased that Melchert-Dinkel was prosecuted and sentenced and we urge Melchert-Dinkel not to appeal the conviction so as to allow closure for the families. EPC recognizes that Melchert-Dinkel will serve time in prison, he has lost any opportunity of returning to his nursing profession, and the law did convict him for his heinous crimes.
The Melchert-Dinkel case proves that internet suicide predators are not that different from other cases of assisted suicide. The victim is vulnerable and the assisted suicide is counseled by a person who alleges concern for the victim, but who acts based on their own concerns. Link to article.
(Click here for more information about the Melchert-Dinkel case and his victims.)
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, he cannot have any internet access, other than for work, he cannot be employed within the health care profession, and he must continue therapy.
The Star Tribune quoted Crown attorney Paul Beaumaster in this way: “the sentence was ‘well reasoned and supported by the facts.’ With so few assisted suicide convictions in state history, there’s no recommended sentencing level in state guidelines.”
The Toronto Star quoted Beaumaster as stating: “I hope this case stands as a warning to other predators on the Internet who advises, aides or encourages suicide that they will be held accountable.”
The Star Tribune quoted Deborah Chevalier, Nadia’s mother, who stated: “For months afterward, nightmares haunted me, I would give everything I have to be able to spend just one more minute with my child again.”
Outside of the courthouse Chevalier stated: “I’m her mother. Obviously I was disappointed. … Justice can never be served.”
The Toronto Star quoted Mohammed Kajouji, Nadia’s father as stating: “When the judge called, I couldn’t stop crying. It brought everything back. And I was so scared. I was reading online and everyone said he might not even go to jail. But he will go to jail and he will pay the fines so there is some closure. It won’t bring Nadia back, but I’m glad it’s over.”
The editorial in the Brampton Guardian, the city where Nadia grew up, stated: No Justice for Nadia. The editorial stated:
Kajouji needed help, but sadly the only help she got was from a deranged man who helped her kill herself.
There is no telling what would have happened if Melchert-Dinkel had not entered Kajouji’s life. She could have got help and moved on to be a successful and happy young woman, or she may have ultimately killed herself without any help. But we will never know.
This sentence is not a deterrent, and in the dark, shadowy world of the Internet, strong deterrents are the only thing that will stop those who look for the vulnerable.
Melchert-Dinkel likely would have received more jail time if he threw fire on a burning house. But stoking the flames of mental illness in the U.S. justice system seems to mean little.
To give the Minnesota justice system credit, at least they prosecuted Melchert-Dinkel. That is more than can be said for the Canadian justice system.
In the previous parliamentary session, Harold Albrecht, Member of Parliament from Kitchener-Conestoga, introduced Motion 388 to ensure that Canada’s assisted suicide act also applies to Internet Suicide Predators, such as Melchert-Dinkel. Motion 388 passed in the House of Commons unanimously.
EPC will urge the government to bring forth a bill that clarifies that Internet Suicide Predators, and those who counsel suicide via communications devices, will be prosecuted under Canada’s assisted suicide act.
For more information about the Melchert Dinkel case go here.