Jeffery Sahl Ferris Belcourt, North Dakota man commits suicide inside Fargo courthouse after guilty verdict: faced min 7 years jail.
A man committed suicide moments after being found guilty inside of a North Dakota courtroom on Monday, according to reports.
The man since identified as Jeffery Sahl Ferris, 55, of Belcourt, N.D, cut himself in the throat, from ear to ear, inside the Quentin Burdick Courthouse, federal courthouse in Fargo in front of the judge and courtroom staffers and other witnesses, North Dakota US Marshal Dallas Carlson told KVRR.
‘He produced an edge weapon and cut his throat’ Carlson told the outlet.
The jury, who was not inside the courtroom at the time, had found the man guilty on at least some of the charges against him. The un-named man had faced in part terrorist related charges amongst other charges.
He was on trial for an April 2020 incident on the Turtle Mountian Indian Reservation.
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Defendant faced min of 7 years jail
Court records allege Ferris drove a jeep toward several children and nearly hit them, ValleyNewsLive reported.
Court documents said Ferris assaulted a person with a handgun during the episode. When one of the minors crashed a dirt bike, Ferris pointed a 9mm handgun at the youth on the ground, threatening to kill the person if they ever returned.
Ferris faced charges of assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, terrorizing, and using a firearm in a violent felony.
Ferris was a former emergency medical technician (EMT) for the Belcourt community of Turtle Mountain. He was not an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, but was a descendant according to NativeNewsOnline.
Defendant had requested he be released for 24 hours
According to a witness, after Ferris was found guilty and it was apparent he would face several years in prison, he asked to be released until sentencing, WDAY News reported. When the judge said no, the convicted man then asked to be released for 24 hours to take care of a child care situation. The judge said no to that, too, the witness said.
‘The male was standing up. He started fidgeting … with his neck,’ the witness said. ‘His attorney asked him, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ And the guy turned around, and you could see the inside of his neck. He had slit his neck with some object. There was blood all over the walls in the courtroom, and the Marshals had wrestled him to the floor. You could hear him screaming, ‘I can’t breathe.”
Court security officers and deputy marshals tried live-saving measures but were unsuccessful.
According to several people familiar with the case, Ferris was facing a minimum of seven years for the use of a firearm in the presence of a minor. All of the victims of the case are minors and their identities are protected by law.
Not immediately clear is how the weapon got through security. The U.S. Marshals Service is in charge of checking visitors to the courthouse for weapons. WDAY News reported Ferris being out on bond – implying that he would have accessed the courthouse using the security checkpoint at the main entrance.
US Marshals and the FBI continue to investigate the man’s death.