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Trial against group charged with assisting in MN woman's suicide begins Monday

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Opening statements in the case against a national right-to-die group that is accused of assisting in the suicide of a 57-year-old Apple Valley woman will be heard Monday.

The Final Exit Network, Inc. – a Georgia-based nonprofit that provides members with end-of-life counseling and "exit guide" services, including information and support for members who seek to end their life – is charged with assisting Doreen Dunn in her suicide in May 2007.

Prosecutors will be trying to prove the Final Exit Network directly assisted – either physically or with speech – in Dunn's suicide, The Associated Press reports.

The case

Dunn's 2007 death was ruled natural until an investigation in Georgia uncovered Dunn had reached out to the Final Exit Network earlier that year, a 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 with the help of the Final Exit Network, the release noted. The investigation found two "exit guides" 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.

According to a news release on the Final Exit Network's website, prosecutors granted Lawrence Egbert, an 87-year-old physician who served as the organization's medical director, immunity from prosecution last week, and subpoenaed him to testify against the organization at trial. He's expected to testify May 12.

Ted Goodwin, 68, a former president of the organization, was also granted immunity and will testify on behalf of the State on Monday, Final Exit Network says.

Charges against Jerry Dincin, 83, who was with Dunn on the day she died, were dropped after he died, and the case against Roberta Massey, 69, has been suspended because of her poor health, the Star Tribune reported.

Jury selection was held earlier this month. The trial is expected to take about a week, reports note.

"I have never seen a jury as well educated and as politically and religiously moderate," Robert Rivas, the attorney for Final Exit Network, Inc., said, according to a release. "We could not be more gratified with the success of this jury selection process."

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