A convicted child rapist who was looking at 100 years behind bars has died after drinking a bottle of water that he is believed to have laced with cyanide as his guilty verdict was read out in court.
57-year-old Edward Leclair started gulping water from a bottle after a jury in Denton County, Texas, found him guilty on five counts of child sexual assault.
Authorities immediately attempted to rush Leclair to hospital but he died soon afterwards, leaving court staff and lawyers in shock and members of the jury in tears.
Leclair's lawyer, Mike Howard, said: "I looked over and noticed him drinking. His hand was shaking. At the time, I thought it was shaking because of the verdict. Then he kept drinking and drinking."
The first assistant attorney for the Denton County District Attorney's office, Jamie Beck, said: "We've had incidents of people fainting. We've had heart attacks. We've even had people who fake illness. But never something like this."
The cause of death is still being investigated, however, prosecutors believe that convicted child rapist, Edward Leclair, who had been out on bond, had managed to smuggle cyanide into the courthouse and put it into a bottle of water that he had purchased inside.
Leclair would have been due to be sentenced on Friday.
Mr Howard added: "I think he made the decision to do what he did at the last moment when he realised that he could face up to 100 years in prison, which was a likely outcome given the seriousness of the charges.
"Had he waited another 30 seconds, he would have been in sheriff's custody and not had access to that bottled water. He wouldn't have been able to. So, you know, I think he knew."
Former navy mechanic and corporate recruiter, Leclair, was convicted of five counts of sexual assault on a person between the age of 14 and 17, including rape.
Leclair denied the charges against him, but the victim testified during the trial, sharing graphic details of what he had done, and after three-and-a-half hours of deliberations the jury unanimously convicted him.