Man 'hunted vulnerable online for suicide pacts'
Published 25/02/2011 | 05:00
A MAN who "hunted" vulnerable people on the internet and encouraged two of them to kill themselves appeared in court yesterday.
American lawyers say that William Melchert-Dinkel, who is charged with two counts of aiding suicide, was committing a crime not playing a game as has been claimed.
The court heard how he used alter egos to stalk victims and get them to kill themselves.
Melchert-Dinkel has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough (32) of Coventry, England, and the 2008 drowning of Nadia Kajouji (18) of Ontario, Canada.
Melchert-Dinkel's fate is now in the hands of Rice County District Court Judge Thomas Neuville after the 48-year-old southern Minnesota man waived his right to a jury trial.
Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and sought out potential victims. When he found them, prosecutors say, he posed as a woman, using such names as "Li dao" or "Cami", played the role of a compassionate friend, and offered step-by-step instructions on suicide.
Prosecutors say he entered into fake suicide pacts with about 10 people, five of whom he believed killed themselves.