ST. PAUL, Minn., Feb. 24 (UPI) -- A Minnesota judge will determine if a former nurse is guilty of using the Internet to help two people commit suicide, officials said.
William Melchert-Dinkel of Faribault has agreed to let a judge determine if he violated a Minnesota law against aiding suicide, Minnesota Public Radio reported Thursday.
The law applies to anyone who "intentionally advises, encourages or assists" suicide and provides for a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.
Melchert-Dinkel, 48, allegedly helped two people commit suicide five years ago -- one a Canadian citizen, the other lived in England. His attorney has argued free-speech rights protected his client's actions.
Attorney Terry Watkins also questioned whether courts have jurisdiction over the case because the suicides happened in other countries.
A judge has denied Watkins motions for dismissal based on both pre-trial arguments. The judge has 20 days to issue a ruling.
The trial starts Thursday in Rice County.