(CMR) A Texas man convicted of child sexual assault died last Thursday after drinking a bottle of cloudy liquid in the courtroom as the judge read the verdict. Edward Peter Leclair (57) was found guilty on Thursday of five counts of sexual assault involving one victim.
According to news reports, before the verdict came back, Leclair had kept a large bottle next to him with what looked like cloudy water throughout the four hours of deliberation but hadn’t been drinking it. However, he started drinking when the judge began to read the guilty verdict.
“He chugged it. It wasn’t like he was just taking sips of water. He was literally throwing it back, so to speak,” prosecutor Jamie Beck told local news station WFAA.
Defense attorney Mike Howard said he saw Leclair drinking and noticed his hand was shaking.
“At the time, I thought it was shaking because of the verdict. Then he kept drinking and drinking,” he said.
Leclair reportedly started vomiting after being taken back to his cell and was taken to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Leclair, who maintained his innocence throughout the trial, would have faced up to 100 years in prison had he survived. An autopsy has been ordered to determine Leclair’s cause of death, and his water bottle has been collected as evidence.