Group convicted of assisting MN woman's suicide fined $30,000

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The right-to-die group convicted of assisting the 2007 suicide of an Apple Valley woman will pay nearly $33,000, a sentence imposed by a judge Friday, the Star Tribune reports.

Final Exit Network, Inc. – a Georgia-based nonprofit that provides members with end-of-life counseling and “exit guide” services – was fined $30,000 and will pay about $3,000 more to cover the funeral costs of the woman, a release on the network's website says.

The group called it "approximately what was expected."

In May, Final Exit Network was found guilty of assisting in the suicide of 57-year-old Doreen Dunn.

Throughout the trial, prosecutors worked to prove that the Final Exit Network intentionally and directly assisted – either physically or with instructional speech – in Dunn’s suicide.

The defense argued there wasn’t evidence to prove the group did anything illegal, noting the Final Exit Network is careful to stay within constitutionally protected speech. It said the “exit guides” are there as a compassionate friend so the person doesn’t have to die alone, a release on the Final Exit Network’s website said.

The case

Dunn’s 2007 death was ruled natural until an investigation in Georgia found Dunn had reached out to the Final Exit Network earlier that year, the Dakota County Attorney’s Office news release said.

She had suffered from intense pain for a decade following a botched medical procedure before deciding to end her life, the release noted. The investigation found two “exit guides” from the network had traveled to Dunn’s home the day of her death.

The investigation resulted in the organization and four of its members being indicted in 2012. However, over the years the cases against the four individuals have either been dismissed or delayed.

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