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Minn. man convicted of aiding suicide will appeal

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Melchert Dinkel
William Melchert-Dinkel arrives at the Rice County Courthouse Wednesday, May 4, 2011 in Faribault, Minn., for sentencing in connection with his conviction of encouraging two suicides. Melchert-Dinkel, 48, of Faribault, was found guilty in March of aiding the suicides of 18-year-old Kajouji of Brampton, Ontario, Canada, who jumped into a river in 2008, and 32-year-old Mark Drybrough of Coventry, England, who hung himself in 2005.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

A former nurse sentenced to 360 days in jail for going online and allegedly encouraging two depressed people to kill themselves is appealing.

      An attorney for William Melchert-Dinkel says he has filed notice of his intent to appeal. Attorney Terry Watkins said Wednesday he intends to argue that Melchert-Dinkel was exercising his right to free speech.

      Melchert-Dinkel has been free since his sentencing May 4. Since he filed the notice of appeal Tuesday, before a Wednesday deadline, he'll remain free while the appeal is pending.

      In a statement read at sentencing, the 48-year-old Faribault man said he was sorry for his role in the deaths of an English man and a Canadian woman. He has admitted that what he did was morally wrong, but claims he did nothing illegal.

             (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)