FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Federal authorities say a man on trial in Fargo, North Dakota, slashed his own throat in the courtroom Monday and died.
North Dakota U.S. Marshal Dallas Carlson said the incident happened after a jury returned a partial guilty verdict against the man, who had faced terrorizing-related charges. Carlson said the man had a sharp instrument that might have been made of plastic.
Carlson said the jury had left the courtroom, but U.S. District Judge Peter Welte, courtroom staff, and others witnessed the incident. Court security officers and deputy marshals attempted life-saving measures in the courtroom.
FBI spokesman Kevin Smith said the man had been acquitted on one charge and found guilty on the other charge, and was about to be taken into custody. “He did the self-harm after he heard the verdict and after the jury had left the courtroom,” Smith said. He did not know of which charge the man had been convicted.
Court documents show that in the last week, Welte had been presiding over a jury trial for a North Dakota man who was charged with reckless endangerment and assault for allegedly running someone over with a Jeep. He also faced a terrorizing charge on accusations he brandished a weapon.
Welte on Monday filed a court document approving meals for the jury during deliberations. He did not return a message left Thursday in his chambers.
Smith said the FBI has opened an investigation. “We need to officially document what happened in that federal courtroom today,” he said. “All the questions you have, we have. What was the sharp object? How did it get into the courtroom? Those questions—What did people see him do?”
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