Attorney for Minnesota man charged with aiding suicides raises a mental illness defense

A Minnesota lawyer for an ex-nurse charged with encouraging two people to kill themselves via online conversations wants his client's confession thrown out, saying police stressed his client so much he was rendered insane.

Attorney Terry Watkins raised the mental illness defense at a motions hearing Friday for William Melchert-Dinkel, who's accused of encouraging the suicides of a man in England in 2005 and a woman in Canada in 2008.

The Faribault Daily News reported Melchert-Dinkel testified Friday he felt intimidated by officers who interviewed him in his home last year, particularly when one asked if he knew he'd broken the law. He said he didn't understand that encouraging suicide was unlawful.

The judge says he'll rule on the confession and other motions this fall.


Information from: Faribault Daily News,