A Texas man on trial for child sexual assault died after drinking a cloudy substance from a large water bottle as the jury convicted him of the crime, officials say. Edward Leclair, 57, was being tried in Denton, roughly 40 miles northwest of Dallas, on five counts involving a single victim.
Denton County court officials share their reactions to defendant’s mysterious death moments after guilty verdict: “We were shocked by this. It does carry a lot of emotion and even more so for the jurors.” https://t.co/oATrcaP0yv
— DentonRC (@DentonRC) August 12, 2022
- The Tarrant County medical examiner’s office has yet to list his cause or manner of death. Leclair had been released on bond after his arrest but was in a holding cell as the verdict was read. According to Prosecutor Jamie Beck, Leclair only began drinking the substance from the water bottle when the verdict was read, at which point he “just chugged it.” An investigator who had been assigned to the courtroom reported what Leclair had done and requested a bailiff go and check on him.
- Nothing like this has ever happened in court. As Beck told the Denton Record-Chronicle, “We have had people who faint, have heart attacks and had a shooting, but never in my 27 years have we had something like this happen.” Leclaire’s attorney Mike Howard says sheriff’s deputies gave Leclair medical attention until EMS staff arrived.
- It’s unclear what exactly happened. While it’s clear that whatever Leclair drank is behind his death, how exactly it came to be is uncertain. As Howard recalls: “I saw him being taken out on the gurney. His color and pallor didn’t look good – gray – and then he was taken to the hospital. Beyond that, that’s all I can say.
- More details will likely become available after an autopsy and toxicology tests are undertaken. Leclair clearly couldn’t handle having to pay for his crimes and decided to take the easy way out, but more measures need to be taken so that this doesn’t give other criminals any ideas in the future.
Edward LeClair, 57, was found unconscious on Aug. 11 in a holding cell outside the Denton County Courthouse. https://t.co/Mm5N5G9QIP
— CBS DFW (@CBSDFW) August 12, 2022