Court Security

Convicted in case with 7-year max, man took cyanide in courtroom and died


Convicted of a sex crime and facing a possible maximum prison sentence of seven years, a Missouri man took cyanide in court and died minutes after the verdict was announced last week.

Steve Parsons, 48, was the well-known owner of a St. Joseph, Mo., area tire shop, but also had a lengthy court record including traffic tickets, civil suits, some criminal charges and probation violations and a protective order, according to Fox 4 News and KCTV.

Officials say they think Parsons had the pill in his mouth when he entered the courtroom, and apparently activated it when he took a drink from a cup of water after the verdict was read. A search of his home and car showed that he had recently ordered a shipment of cyanide.

He was convicted in Nodaway County, after a change of venue, in a 2011 felony case filed in Gentry County for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

“I can’t speculate to what he was going through, but I’m firmly convinced that his death was not a result of a wrongful verdict by the jury,” said Jerome Y. “Jerry” Biggs, who serves as the chief prosecutor for Gentry County.

The articles don’t include any comment from Parsons’ counsel.

Hat tip: Daily Mail.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyer Took Cyanide After Arson Verdict, Then Collapsed and Died, Medical Examiner Says”

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