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William Melchert-Dinkel guilty of urging online suicide

William Melchert-Dinkel posed as "Li Dao," "Cami" and "Falcon Girl."

William Melchert-Dinkel posed as "Li Dao," "Cami" and "Falcon Girl."

William Melchert-Dinkel is such an odious Internet troll that even his defense attorney called him "sick" and "abhorrent."

Now we can call him "criminal," as well. The former nurse from Faribault has been found guilty of urging Briton Mark Drybrough and Canadian Nadia Kajouji to kill themselves after contacting them through online chat rooms.

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Drybrough was 32 when he hanged himself after struggling with depression in 2005. Kajouji had suffered a miscarriage before she jumped into a frozen river in 2008 when she was 18 years old.

Both had been in contact with Melchert-Dinkel, 48. He urged Kajouji to hang herself instead, while he watched online.

They weren't Melchert-Dinkel's only suicide chat room friends, either. Prosecutors say he's admitted to making contact with at least 10 others, using online aliases including "Li Dao," "Cami" and "Falcon Girl." And police caught up with him only after two British women, concerned about a teenage friend who had talked about an online death pact with a nurse, tracked him down and alerted authorities.

Melchert-Dinkel's attorney, Terry Watkins, had tried to excuse his client's deranged virtual fantasies -- his "babbling" -- as an exercise in free speech rights. But Rice County District Judge Thomas Neuville was having none of that. He handed down a guilty verdict yesterday, after Melchert-Dinkel waived his right to a jury trial.

Sentencing is set for May.