A Texas man who had just been convicted of five counts of child sexual assault has died — seemingly poisoned while the verdict against him was being read!
According to CNN, 57-year-old Edward Leclair (pictured above) was on trial at the courthouse in Denton, Texas last week on child sexual assault allegations. He had been free on bond during the trial, but things changed as the jury came back with their decision.
Leclair was originally charged back in 2020 with five sexual assault counts involving the same underage victim. That person was identified as “a person between the age of 14 and 17,” per People. The former Navy mechanic and corporate recruiter pleaded not guilty. He had been facing up to 100 years in prison if convicted.
On Thursday afternoon, the jury came back from deliberations and returned the guilty verdict against Leclair on all five counts. But as the verdict was being read into the court record, Leclair began drinking a mysterious liquid from a water bottle at the defendant’s table.
His lawyer, Mike Howard, recalled the situation in an interview afterwards with NBC News. The lawyer said his client was “dejected and in shell shock, all the things you would expect” as the guilty verdict was being read.
But Leclair was also taking action, as it turned out — by drinking out of a plastic water bottle at his table:
“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.”
Other people in the courtroom noticed the act, too. After the guilty verdict was read, Leclair was taken back to a holding cell inside the courthouse to await transfer. However, things didn’t quite add up for those in attendance.
Denton County prosecutor Jamie Beck spoke to CNN about the situation, explaining that the state’s investigator in the courtroom was immediately suspicious about the water bottle chug. Beck asserted the liquid in the water bottle looked “cloudy,” according to the news outlet. The prosecutor added:
“As these verdicts were being read, he chugged a bottle of water he had at counsel table. 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.”
Just minutes after Leclair was taken out of the courtroom, he got sick. Howard explained:
“Shortly after entering the holdover cell, he started vomiting, and emergency services were called.”
Medics rushed in to revive the convicted sex offender, but they were not successful. Leclair was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:21 p.m. local time on Thursday.
Now the medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy later on Monday to determine Leclair’s cause of death. A toxicology report has been ordered to find out what was in the water bottle, too. However, as CNN notes, it may be several weeks before results are available.
What was in that bottle? Did Leclair know? It certainly seems like it…
Here is more on the story, from local outlet 12NewsNow:
What an unsettling situation.