William Melchert Dinkel wanted his judge to rule that adopting an online persona to help convince people to kill themselves is protected as free speech. Rice County Judge Thomas Neuville isn't buying it.
In a ruling today, Neuville refused to dismiss charges against Melchert-Dinkel, a 48-year-old nurse from Faribault, who is accused of assisting in the suicide of an English man and a Canadian woman.
Melchert-Dinkel's habit of entering into fake suicide pacts with people he met online and advising them on how best do the deed isn't covered by the first amendment, Neuville ruled, because suicide is a crime and speech that aides or abets a crime isn't protected as free speech.
Melchert-Dinkel's is expected to plead not guilty at his next court appearance, Nov. 19.