Not long after being handed his conviction of child sexual abuse, a Texas man committed suicide inside the courtroom.
According to the prosecutor, the man, 57-year-old Edward Leclair, had been seen drinking an unknown liquid out of a bottle shortly before having a medical emergency.
Immediately after being handed the verdict, Leclair was seen chugging the liquid and passed away shortly after, in what we can only assume to be a way to escape his “earthly justice.”
Mike Howard, the man’s defense attorney, stated that he had seen his client taking a “long drink from a water bottle” during the verdict but did not know the contents.
When Leclair met the 14-year-old on Craigslist and began meeting up for sexual encounters, he had been a corporate recruiter. For four years he was out on bond awaiting trial.
The New York Post reported additional details:
Edward Leclair, 57, was on trial in Denton, Texas, for five counts of sexual abuse and had been free on bond until the verdict Thursday.
“As these verdicts were being read, he chugged a bottle of water he had at [the] counsel table,” Denton County Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck told CNN Friday, adding the liquid seemed cloudy.
“Our investigator noticed him chug the water,” Beck said. “He told the bailiff he might want to go check on him. The bailiff did. He was unconscious in the holding cell.”
“Shortly after entering the holdover cell, he started vomiting, and emergency services were called,” Leclair’s defense attorney, Mike Howard said.
Before Leclair had been taken away by ambulance, Denton County Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck said “medical intervention” took place in the courthouse.
According to records from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, Leclair was pronounced dead at the Medical City Denton hospital at 3:21 p.m. Currently the cause of death is pending, as an autopsy must be performed.
“I can certainly say that it was highly emotional for everyone involved,” Howard said. “We were shocked by this. It does carry a lot of emotion and even more so for the jurors. They didn’t choose to do this. They were chosen, and as we told them, serving on a jury and making sure that the justice system works for the alleged victim and accused person is the cornerstone of being a citizen and making sure our government and society function.”
This had been the first time all in witness in the courtroom had ever experienced this unusual and shocking situation.