MARYVILLE, Mo. -- A guilty verdict and a self-imposed death sentence unfolded in a Nodaway County Courtroom.
Steve Parsons was standing trial last week charged with the sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl. When the jury came back with a guilty verdict, authorities say White made a shocking decision with a room full of witnesses.
After a three-day trial and less than six hours of deliberations-- 48-year-old Steve Parsons sat in front of a jury of his peers and was found not guilty of forcible sodomy, but guilty of statutory sodomy.
“As the judge was polling the jury, Mr. Parson's stood up, walked to where I was seated and looked at me and said, 'I’m going to throw up,'" said Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White, who was seated in the courtroom just feet from Parsons.
“He picked up a drink, took a very small drink out of this cup and then returned to his seat,” White explained.
White says the well-known business owner looked a little off.
“Less than two minutes after that, Mr. Parson's arched his back and began to have a seizure,” White said.
White said Parsons stopped breathing and on the way to the hospital, went into cardiac arrest and died.
“I mean I've never seen this happen before in the courthouse,” he said.
A search of Parsons car Friday turned up a scrap of paper with the name of a chemical company and a phone number.
White called the company and said “He confirmed for me that on the 25th of June that Mr. Parson's ordered 100g of cyanide from their company and had it overnight shipped.”
Friday evening, White got a call from the county coroner with preliminary autopsy results confirming his suspicions.
“After examining the body that this was the most classic case of cyanide poisoning that he's ever been a party to,” White said of the medical examiner's findings.
The fact Parsons took his own life after learning his fate is still shocking to most.
“I’ve never see it happen before. The judge has never seen it happen before. None of the attorneys have ever seen it happen before,” White said.
White says while no one saw Parsons pull anything out of his pockets or swallow any pills, he says Parsons was out on bond throughout the trial.
In Nodaway County, defendants are not searched before entering the courtroom.
Toxicology results aren’t expected for at least a month.