A US man charged with aiding two people, including a Briton, to commit suicide, was committing a crime - not playing a game - when he "hunted" vulnerable people on the internet, prosecutors have claimed.
William Melchert-Dinkel used alter egos to stalk victims and get them to commit suicide for the "thrill of the chase," prosecutors said in written arguments filed prior to a court hearing in Minneapolis.
Melchert-Dinkel has pleaded not guilty to two counts of aiding suicide in the 2005 hanging death of Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, West Midlands, and the 2008 drowning of Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
A judge will decide whether the former nurse's actions were criminal.
Prosecutors say Melchert-Dinkel, of Fairbault, was obsessed with suicide and hanging and sought out potential victims on the internet.
"Advising and encouraging others in suicide is not an online game for Mr Melchert-Dinkel's amusement - it is a crime," wrote Rice County lawyer Paul Beaumaster.
He added that Melchert-Dinkel admitted his "conversations moved into the realm of sick and perverse advice."
Melchert-Dinkel's fate is now in the hands of Rice County District Court Judge Thomas Neuville after the 48-year-old southern Minnesota man waived his right to a jury trial and said he would not dispute the evidence against him, only whether what he did was a crime.
Defence lawyer Terry Watkins has not filed written arguments. He has said previously that his client's online activities were protected speech, that the victims were predisposed to suicide and that Melchert-Dinkel's comments were not a factor. Watkins has also said his client's actions do not constitute a crime.
Judge Neuville will hear arguments from both sides, then has up to 20 days to decide whether Melchert-Dinkel is guilty.