In a bizarre story, authorities say that a man who was convicted of child sex abuse killed himself as the jury read out their verdict.
Defendant seen “chugging” cloudy water
Denton County Assistant District Attorney Jamie Beck told CNN that unbeknownst to anyone, the defendant apparently began to consume poison when the jury returned on Thursday.
“As these verdicts were being read, he chugged a bottle of water he had at [the] counsel table,” Beck was quoted as saying. The prosecutor added that the water in Leclair’s bottle seemed to be cloudy.
“Our investigator noticed him chug the water,” Beck recalled. “He told the bailiff he might want to go check on him. The bailiff did. He was unconscious in the holding cell.”
Mike Howard served as Leclair’s defense attorney, and he said that his former client “started vomiting” upon going into a holdover cell whereupon emergency services were called.
Defense attorney: “We were shocked by this”
Howard also admitted seeing the defendant taking a “long drink from a water bottle” but denied knowing what it might contain.
He told the Denton Record-Chronicle, “I can certainly say that it was highly emotional for everyone involved. We were shocked by this.”
It does carry a lot of emotion and even more so for the jurors,” the defense attorney stressed. “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 is something that obviously doesn’t happen very often,” Howard said. “The judge in her 30 years and probably between us (prosecution, too) 100-plus years, [we] have never come across anything like this.”
CNN noted that the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office stated that Leclair was pronounced dead on Thursday afternoon at 3:21 p.m. after he was taken to Medical City Denton hospital. No official cause of death will be announced until an autopsy has been completed.