Ottawa

Man accused of encouraging suicide waives trial

A former Minnesota nurse accused of counselling an Ontario woman and a British man to kill themselves will waive his right to a trial on Thursday and let a judge decide his fate, authorities said Tuesday.

A former Minnesota nurse accused of counselling an Ontario woman and a British man to kill themselves will waive his right to a trial on Thursday and let a judge decide his fate, authorities said Tuesday.

William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, will enter a special Lothenbach Plea, which will allow him to keep his not guilty plea, but require him to accept the prosecution's evidence and let a judge decide the outcome without hearing testimony, according to the county attorney's office in Rice County, Minnesota.

Melchert-Dinkel 48, of Faribault was charged in April with two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, and the March 2008 drowning of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ont.

Kajouji, a student at Ottawa's Carleton University, threw herself into Ottawa's Rideau River after struggling with escalating mental health problems during the months leading up to her death.

Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel sought out depressed people in internet chat rooms. When he found them, he posed as a female nurse, feigned compassion and offered step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves.

Judge Thomas M. Neuville will have seven days to render a verdict after Melchert-Dinkel enters his plea.

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