Courtroom Shocker: Man Hears Sentence, Kills Himself

US man living in Taiwan had just been handed 4-year sentence on drug conviction
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2016 8:39 AM CDT
Courtroom Shocker: Man Hears Sentence, Kills Himself
Courtroom shocker.   (Shutterstock)

A despondent reaction in a Taiwanese courtroom Thursday morning left a 41-year-old American dead. After he was handed a four-year sentence on a drug conviction, Tyrel Martin Marhanka killed himself, the Washington Post reports. Per the Taipei Times, a judge had just informed Marhanka of his punishment for growing pot and smuggling pot and poppy seeds into Taiwan, and when Marhanka heard how much time he'd be spending behind bars, things got chaotic. "Four years?" he was heard saying to his translator, who tried to assure Marhanka he could appeal. Marhanka didn't want to hear that, yelled, "I don't want to live anymore!," then plunged two sharp metal objects into the sides of his neck, witnesses say. Court officials say it appears Marhanka brought in a pair of scissors by separating the tool into two blades and hiding the pieces inside a magazine to circumvent the building's metal-detecting door, reports AFP.

The Times notes that Marhanka severed arteries in his neck, and although court bailiffs tried to stanch the bleeding, it was just too much: Marhanka died about a half-hour after being brought to a local hospital. Marhanka "was cooperative during the investigation and the trial," a court statement reads. "His attitude was mild and he did not show any signs that he would commit suicide." In a Thursday afternoon press conference, the presiding judge admitted the court had been negligent and that security measures would be boosted, including installing at least one X-ray scanner when the court soon moves into a new building. Court officials note that Marhanka had lived in Taiwan since his mid-20s and had a Taiwanese wife, as well as two elementary-school-age children. (A Virginia man took his own life moments after being convicted of killing his wife.)

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