Defendant kills himself in courtroom after guilty verdict

·1 min read
<p>Defendant kills himself in courtroom after guilty verdict</p> (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Defendant kills himself in courtroom after guilty verdict

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A defendant killed himself inside a North Dakota federal courtroom moments after being convicted by a jury, US Marshals have confirmed.

The shocking incident took place inside Fargo’s Quentin Burdick Courthouse after the jury had returned a partial guilty verdict against the man on terrorizing-related charges, say officials.

Witnesses said that the jury had left the courtroom, but that US District Judge Peter Welte, courtroom staff and others were still inside.

North Dakota US Marshal Dallas Carlson said the man, who has not been named, had been armed with a sharp plastic object at the time of the incident.

“He produced an edge[d] weapon and cut his throat,” Carlson told local news outlet KVRR.

FBI spokesman Kevin Smith said the man had been acquitted on one charge and found guilty on the other charge, and was about to be taken into custody.

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“He did the self-harm after he heard the verdict and after the jury had left the courtroom,” Mr Smith told the Associated Press.

“We need to officially document what happened in that federal courtroom today,” he added.

“All the questions you have, we have. What was the sharp object, how did it get into the courtroom – those questions – what did people see him do?”

Smith confirmed that the FBI had opened an investigation into the incident, as has the US Marshals Service.

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone free of charge over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email jo@samaritans.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.