Photo: Getty
  /  08.13.2022

A Texas man’s death is being investigated after prosecutors say he chugged a liquid while standing trial on Thursday (Aug. 11). Edward Leclair, 57, was facing five counts of child sexual abuse stemming from incidents in June and July of 2016 that involved a minor between the age of 14 and 17.

According to the Denton County Attorney General’s Office, Leclair’s trial began Monday (Aug. 8). The middle-aged man was arrested in 2018, but he had been living as a free man since posting a $300,000 bond.

“The jury comes in and takes a seat. The defendant and his counsel stand. The jury hands the verdict to the judge, which she then starts to read,” recounted prosecuting attorney Jamie Beck while speaking with Dallas news station WFAA. But what happened next ended up being anything but ordinary.

As Judge Lee Gabriel began to read the verdict, Leclair grabbed a bottle from the table and began to drink profusely. “It wasn’t like he was just taking sips of water. He was literally throwing it back, so to speak,” said Beck. He added that prior to the verdict being read, the man had not been seen drinking from the bottle. Initially, Beck and Leclair’s legal counsel thought the man may have been dealing with a case of bad nerves while consuming the liquid. 

But, an investigator working with prosecutors noted the liquid appeared “cloudy.” Soon after, Leclair was transferred to the court’s holding cell where he was observed vomiting. “He (the investigator) told the bailiff he might want to go check on him. The bailiff did. He was unconscious in the holding cell,” said Beck.

“I saw him being taken out on the gurney,” the guilty man’s attorney Mike Howard told the Denton Record-Chronicle. “His color and pallor didn’t look good– gray — and then he was taken to the hospital. Beyond that, that’s all I can say,” Howard said.

Leclair was pronounced dead that afternoon. The bottle that contained the mysterious fluid has since been turned over to authorities, where it will undergo testing to determine its contents. A cause of death is pending a toxicology report.


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