A Frisco man who had just been convicted of child sexual assault died Thursday afternoon after he “chugged” a water bottle that contained an unknown fluid in a Denton County courtroom
The 57-year-old man had a large water bottle containing what appeared to be cloudy water, but he had not been drinking from it during the trial, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported, according to attorneys involved in the case.
But once a Denton County jury returned its guilty verdict against Edward Leclair, he “chugged it,” the Denton Record-Chronicle reported.
Leclair, who had been free on bond, was taken into custody and sent to the holding cell, which is located next to the courtroom, attorneys said. The jury had been sent out of the room so the judge could decide when the punishment phase of the trial would begin, the Record-Chronicle reported.
First Assistant Attorney Jamie Beck with the Denton County District Attorney’s Office told the Record-Chronicle that an investigator alerted the bailiff to what Leclair had done.
When authorities checked on him, Leclair was unconscious. He was later taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“We have had people who faint, have heart attacks and had a shooting, but never in my 27 years have we had something like this happen,” Beck told the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Leclair died at 3:21 p.m. Thursday at the hospital, according to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office website.
Officials with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office are listed as the investigators in the death.
Beck reported that Leclair’s water bottle was collected as evidence, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.
Leclair, a corporate recruiter, was found guilty on five counts of sexual assault of a child, all of which involved one victim.
Denton County court records indicate the offense occurred in July 2016, and he was arrested two years later. He was released on $30,000 bond in 2018 pending trial.
Beck said the victim flew in to testify at Leclair’s trial, which began Monday at the Denton County Courts Building off McKinney Street in Denton, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. He was convicted on the five charges on Thursday.
Dallas defense attorney Mike Howard told the Denton Record-Chronicle that court was expected to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Friday and that he thought the judge would have to release the jury and “declare a mistrial.”