Man who 'chugged' cloudy liquid as he was found guilty of sexual assault dies hours later

·2 min read

A man found guilty of child sexual assault last week drank a cloudy liquid from a water bottle as his verdict was announced and later died.

Edward LeClair, 57, was on trial last week for five counts against one victim. As a jury in Denton, Texas, found him guilty on all counts on Thursday, he was drinking quickly from the bottle.

“I noticed that his hand was shaking a little bit. Given the gravity of the situation, I didn’t think that was odd,” Mike Howard, who represented LeClair, told USA TODAY.

“I noticed he was drinking from it for quite a while,” Howard added, noting that he didn’t think it was odd given the circumstances. He said both a bailiff and a person in the gallery independently called the liquid in the water bottle cloudy.

Jamie Beck, a prosecutor with the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office, told WFAA, “He had a bottle of water with him at the counsel table, and he chugged it.”

“It wasn't like he was just taking sips of water. He was literally throwing it back,” he added.

LeClair was sent to a holding cell after the verdict was read. He vomited and collapsed in the cell, and paramedics took him to an area hospital, where he died Thursday afternoon.

His death is being investigated by the Texas Rangers. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner Office confirmed to USA TODAY on Monday that LeClair’s cause of death is pending.

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Officials filed charges against LeClair in 2018, according to online court records. LeClair faced a sentence ranging from probation to up to 100 years in prison after being found guilty, Howard said.

LeClair is accused of responding to a personal ad that a then-14-year-old girl posted on Craigslist in 2016. The two went to hotel, where he raped her, according to multiple reports. She later told the man she was 14, but he continued to see and sexually abuse her.

Contributing: Associated Press

If you are a survivor of sexual assault, RAINN offers support through the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE and online.rainn.org).

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Texas man drank cloudy liquid at child sexual assault guilty verdict