The Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in the case of a former Faribault, Minn. nurse who encouraged two people he met online to commit suicide.
The attorney for 50-year-old William Melchert-Dinkel argued that the state statute that Dinkel was prosecuted under violates the First Amendment, the Pioneer Press reports.
In 2011, Melchert Dinkel was convicted of two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of 32-year-old Mark Drybrough, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and 18-year-old Nadia Kajouji, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008.
Investigators said Melchert-Dinkel sought out depressed people in online suicide chatrooms and offered step-by-step instructions on how they could kill themselves.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected the argument that Melchert-Dinkel was practicing free speech last June.
The former nurse is currently out of jail pending his appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Unless his conviction is overturned, Melchert-Dinkel will face about one year in jail.