As an interpreter told Tyrel Martin Marhanka, 41, that the court had given him a four-year jail sentence, the American man committed suicide in the Taiwan courtroom.
Marhanka was sitting in the courtroom in Taiwan during his sentencing on drug possession charges, when was seen to hold up a sharp metal object and before authorities could stop him, he plunged the object deep into his neck, reportedly unleashing a torrent of blood.
According to the Taipei Times, witnesses to the incident identified the metal object as a pair of scissors. However, other witnesses said Marhanka was holding two separate metal objects. Court officials later told the Taipei Times Marhanka had separated the two halves of a pair of scissors into two sharp blades.
It happened just moments after a judge in the Taiwan courtroom gave Marhanka a four-year prison sentence for growing marijuana and smuggling poppy seeds into the country.
— Nine News LA (@9NewsLA) June 17, 2016
According to witnesses, when judge Wang Yi-min read the sentence out loud, Marhanka immediately turned to his interpreter, who informed him of his sentence.
Marhanka was heard to say “Four years?”
Reportedly the interpreter in the Taiwan courtroom immediately explained to Marhanka that he could appeal the sentence, but Marhanka said he didn’t want to do that.
As reported by the Global Post, witnesses said Marhanka then yelled, “I don’t want to live anymore,” before attempting suicide by raising the two halves of the pair of scissors in each hand and stabbing himself in the neck, severing at least one artery.
According to Wang, the bailiffs in the courtroom immediately rushed to help Marhanka, trying to stop the bleeding, but reportedly the incident happened too quickly and they were unable to help him. Marhanka was rushed to a local hospital where medics said his neck had 12cm and 7cm lacerations on the left and right sides respectively.
While he was still conscious on arrival at the hospital, he reportedly died around 30 minutes later.
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The American was arrested in April, 2015, when Taiwanese police uncovered a large stash of illegal drugs at a rented house in Yongjing Township, Changhua County. The stash included 200 cannabis plants, 195 dried cannabis plants, and 10 opium poppies.
At the time, Marhanka told police the plants were a “hobby” and that the drugs were for his own use.
Marhanka had been living in Taiwan for 15 years and was reportedly married to a Taiwanese woman and they had two children together — a son in second grade and a daughter in kindergarten.
— Derrick (@derrph) June 17, 2016
After the incident, the Taiwan court released a statement on the event.
“We deeply regret that Tyrel Martin Marhanka killed himself during the sentencing.
“He was cooperative during the investigation and the trial. His attitude was mild and he did not show any signs that he would commit suicide.”
Questions were asked as to how Marhanka managed to sneak the pair of scissors into the Taiwan courtroom and officials have said they are planning on improving security by installing an X-ray machine to scan people as they enter the building. According to the Global Post the current court facility lacks adequate space for the X-ray equipment.
[Photo by Eric Limon via Shutterstock]