An article about a particularly vile specimen of humanity appeared on Yahoo News this morning from the AP. The first several paragraphs:
Man convicted of aiding suicides faces sentencing
MINNEAPOLIS – A former Minnesota nurse convicted of aiding suicides by trolling Internet chat rooms and encouraging depressed people to kill themselves could see little or no time behind bars when he is sentenced Wednesday.
William Melchert-Dinkel, 48, was convicted in March of two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of an English man and a Canadian woman. Under state law, he faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for each count, but worksheets prepared by probation officers as part of the pre-sentencing report point to much less — and presume that a prison sentence would be stayed.
Rice County District Court Judge Thomas Neuville, who convicted Melchert-Dinkel in March, will be the one who decides the sentence after reading the worksheets and hearing the recommendations of prosecutors and defense attorneys and any comments from the victims' families.
Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel was obsessed with suicide and hanging and sought out potential victims online. They say he posed as a suicidal female nurse to win his victims' trust, then entered false suicide pacts and offered detailed instructions on how people could take their own lives.
Court documents say Melchert-Dinkel, a former nurse from the southern Minnesota town of Fairbault, told police he did it for the "thrill of the chase." He acknowledged participating in online chats about suicide with up to 20 people and entering into fake suicide pacts with about 10 people, five of whom he believed killed themselves.
Melchert-Dinkel declined a jury trial, leaving Neuville to decide whether he was guilty. He was convicted in the death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and in the death of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008.
If people, especially those suffering from incurable diseases, want to kill themselves, they ought to be allowed to do so as painlessly as possible and with some dignity. Unfortunately, the field of assisted suicide attracts the wrong kind of person. Jack Kevorkian was one case in point. William Melchert-Dinkel is another.
Melchert-Dinkel's motivation wasn't humanitarian, it was the opposite. As he confessed to police, he did it for "the thrill of the chase." He just wanted to see how many people he could get to kill themselves. He enjoyed tinkering with others' lives in as destructive a way as he could.
Which is generally a sociopath's favorite activity.
And after his first "success," rather than feel guilty about it, Melchert-Dinkel eagerly sought out more victims. And these victims weren't the terminally ill, but simply depressed people -- like 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, who might otherwise have led a productive life.
Melchert-Dinkel, in typically sociopathic fashion, was dishonest to his core. After telling his victims that he was depressed too, he would then enter into a false suicide pact with them. He even lied about who he was, telling them he was a female.
For whatever reason, male nurses seem to be disproportionately represented among serial killers. And Melchert-Dinkel, even if he didn't lay a hand on his victims, was effectively a serial killer.