Edward Leclair, 57, was on trial for sexual assault charges on a minor in Denton, Texas. He had been out free on bond until last Thursday when he received his fate.
After three and a half hours of deliberation, the jury had reached a verdict of guilty. In response, Leclair was observed to be drinking a mysterious drink that appeared cloudy from a water bottle before he was found unconscious in his holding cell.
He was taken to the Medical City Denton hospital, where he passed away shortly before 3 p.m.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has since determined the cause of death to be due to a toxic dose of sodium nitrite, a common preservative used in meat.
Security footage showed that Leclair had purchased the water bottle from a vending machine at around 7 a.m.
His lawyer, Mike Howard, postulated that Leclair knew what he was doing.
According to Howard, had Leclair waited another 30 seconds before his actions, he would not have had access to the bottle of water containing sodium nitrite and thus would have been caught by the sheriff.
Howard believes this was the motivation for his client’s suicide, as he was facing a 100-year sentence in prison.
The medical examiner has officially declared Leclair’s death a suicide.
Leclair’s death was the result of his conviction of having sexual relations with a minor he had met on Craigslist.
Even after the girl told him her age, he still had three more sexual encounters with her. The girl’s mother eventually reported Leclair to the authorities.