‘Blood all over the walls’ after guilty defendant SLASHES his own throat in N. Dakota courtroom
Jeffrey Ferris, 55, appeared before a federal judge in Fargo on Monday, charged with assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment, terrorizing, and using a firearm in a violent felony, charges stemming from an incident last year in which he endangered children on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, situated just a few miles south of the Canadian border.
BREAKING: The U.S. Marshals confirm one person is dead after an incident at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Fargo this afternoon. A witness tells VNL during his sentencing hearing, the male defendant stood up & slit his throat w/ what looked like a pen or a plastic shank. pic.twitter.com/azj0C3BLPU— Bailey Hurley (@BaileyHurleyVNL) May 17, 2021
After the jury read out his guilty verdict and left the courtroom, witnesses told local media that Ferris began “fidgeting with his neck.” When Ferris’ lawyer turned to look, the defendant had sliced his throat open with an unknown sharp object.
“You could see the inside of his neck,” the lawyer recounted. “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.'”
Reporters speculated that Ferris used a pen, or “plastic shank” to commit suicide. He had been out on bond, and would have passed through a security checkpoint on his way into the court on Monday.
“I can’t remember the last time an event like this happened where somebody was able to smuggle in some contraband into a federal courtroom and die of a self-inflicted wound. Very, very, very odd. Very unusual,” FBI spokesman Kevin Smith told WDAY News.Also on rt.com Thai judge shoots himself in chest in apparent courtroom suicide bid
Courtroom suicides are uncommon, especially so with improvised weapons. In 2012, a former banker collapsed and died in court in Arizona, after being found guilty of burning his own estate to the ground to dodge spiraling payments. An investigation later revealed that the banker had swallowed capsules of sodium cyanide, a fast-acting poison, during the trial.
Five years later in the Netherlands, Croatian war criminal Slobodan Praljak downed a vial of potassium cyanide seconds after hearing his 20-year sentence confirmed. The ex-general collapsed and died two hours later.
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