Edward Leclair suicide: Child sex offender drinks sodium nitrite as guilty verdict was being read in a Texas court from a water bottle. Had been looking at 100 years jail.
A child sex offender who died after rapidly drinking a cloudy liquid from a water bottle in a Texas courtroom after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a child ingested a lethal amount of sodium nitrite, a medical examiner has found.
Edward Leclair, 57, started drinking the liquid after the jury found him guilty on the first count and continued drinking it as the other counts were read on August 11, 2022. He collapsed in his cell and died soon after.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner‘s office said that the manner in which Leclair died was suicide and his cause of death was the toxic effects of sodium nitrite, the dailymail reports.
Leclair had been facing five counts of child sexual assault against one victim, accused of raping a girl between 13 and 17 years old five times from 2016 to 2018. First Assistant Attorney Jamie Beck from the Denton County District Attorney’s Office said at the time that initially the situation had been normal.
But when Leclair heard that he had been found guilty on the first count, the man grabbed his bottle and ‘chugged’ the cloudy liquid as he was found guilty on the other four counts.
Purchased water bottle from vending machine at 7am leading into court appearance
‘It wasn’t like he was just taking sips of water. He was literally throwing it back, so to speak,’ Beck told WFAA at the time.
Beck explained that while those in the courtroom felt Leclair’s actions were odd, they thought it was just his way of dealing with the situation.
Leclair was taken back into a holding cell after the verdict was read, before officers decided to check on him because of his strange behavior.
He was found unconscious, with witnesses saying he had ‘gone gray’ and was rushed to Medical City Denton where he was pronounced dead.
Told Beck: ‘Our investigator noticed him chug the water. He told the bailiff he might want to go check on him. The bailiff did.
‘He was unconscious in the holding cell. Shortly after entering the holdover cell, he started vomiting, and emergency services were called.’
Surveillance video taken from inside the Denton County Court building shows Leclair purchasing the water from a vending machine in the courthouse around 7am, The New York Times reported.
EXCLUSIVE: Pedophile Edward LeClair killed himself in court room by drinking SODIUM NITRITE after jury found him guilty of child sexual assault last year https://t.co/toewtLpumE
— iTamara 💋 🥸 (@Real___iTamara) February 8, 2023
Prosecutors believed that as jurors deliberated for three-and-a-half hours, Leclair who was out on bond, put the chemical compound in his water bottle.
Leclair’s lawyer, Mike Howard told The New York Times that when his client realized that he could face up to 100 years in prison, he said, ‘I think he made the decision to do what he did at the last moment.’
He continued: ‘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.’
Leclair had worked as a corporate recruiter for years before he lost his job during the pandemic, his attorney said.
He described his client as ‘normal’ and said that during the trial he was taking notes, answering questions and was engaged in the legal proceedings.
Sodium nitrite is an oxidizing agent that is often used to preserve foods such as meat but more commonly kills people accidentally by causing low blood pressure and limiting oxygen flow in the body.
WFAA reports that authorities still have not determined if Edward Peter Leclair, 57, poisoned himself as the verdict was read. https://t.co/2krHzUd6S0
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) August 14, 2022
Former child actor Matthew Mindler took his own life in 2021 with a $15 bottle of sodium nitrite he purchased on Amazon at 19.
‘Empire’ actress Lindsey Pearlman, 43, also died by suicide after ingesting sodium nitrite in Feb. 2022, according to a report from the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner.
In October, the families of two teenagers who committed suicide filed a lawsuit against Amazon accusing the online giant of selling so-called “suicide kits” to teens that included sodium nitrite.
‘This is different from them selling rope, knives, or other implements that can be used for death because there is no household use for [sodium nitrite] at the level of purity (98-99%) it sells it,’ the families’ attorneys wrote in the suit.