After Guilty Verdict, Defendant Downs Drink in Court and Dies

Man had brought water bottle with him and not touched it until he was found guilty
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2022 4:10 PM CDT
Defendant Downs Drink After Child Sexual Abuse Verdict, Dies
Stock photo   (Getty Images/feixianhu)

(Newser) – Edward Leclair, who had been free on bond, returned to a Texas court on Thursday to learn the verdict in his child sexual abuse trial. As the guilty verdicts on all five counts were being read, he picked up a water bottle he'd brought with him, CNN reports. "Our investigator noticed him chug the water," which appeared cloudy, a prosecutor said. Leclair then was taken to a holding cell next to the courtroom so the judge and jury could discuss when to hold the sentencing phase of his trial, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. When the bailiff checked on Leclair, at the investigator's suggestion, he found the 57-year-old looking gray and unconscious. He'd vomited in the cell. Leclair later died at a hospital.

The prosecutor said Leclair hadn't touched his drink until the judge began reading the verdict, per WFAA. "It wasn't like he was just taking sips of water," Jamie Beck said. "He was literally throwing it back, so to speak." An autopsy is being conducted. "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," Beck said. (Read more courtroom stories.)

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