In 2011, he was convicted of aiding suicide and sentenced to 360 days in prison.
Today, however, his conviction was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court, which found that while “assisting” suicide may be illegal, merely “encouraging” it is not.
In 2006, Celia Blay, a retired Berkshire schoolteacher, inadvertently clicked her way into an online suicide chatroom while researching local history.
Shocked to find that such forums even existed, Ms Blay took it upon herself to counsel its members and to persuade them that death was not the answer.
He would disguise himself online as a young woman, going by several names, including Li Dao, “Falcon Girl” and “Cami-D”.
He would offer his victims to join him in a suicide pact, suggesting they take their lives together via webcam.
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His lawyers maintain that Minnesota’s assisted-suicide law is too broad.
The legislation’s wording criminalises anyone who “intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other’s own life,” but Mr Melchert-Dinkel argued that this limited his right to free speech, as enshrined in the US First Amendment.
He told police he did it for the “thrill of the chase”.