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Lawyer: Ex-nurse accused of encouraging people to kill themselves online didn't influence them

An attorney for a former Minnesota nurse convicted of going online and encouraging two people to kill themselves says his client was merely supporting his alleged victims and had no influence on their actions.

William Melchert-Dinkel (MEHL'-kurt DINK'-uhl) was convicted last year on two counts of aiding suicide. His attorney is asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn those convictions.

In court documents filed Wednesday, attorney Terry Watkins says Melchert-Dinkel did not directly participate in the suicides of an English man and a Canadian woman.

Watkins also cites case law he says shows that his 50-year-old client had no legal duty to stop the suicides.

He faces about a year in jail unless his conviction is overturned. Melchert-Dinkel, who lives in Faribault (FAYR'-boh) in southeast Minnesota, remains free pending appeal.

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