Man apparently kills himself in courtroom after guilty verdict

He is believed to have ingested cyanide

MARYVILLE, Mo. - A 48-year-old man apparently committed suicide by ingesting cyanide inside a Nodaway County courtroom last Thursday, moments after being found guilty of sodomy.

Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White said Steve Parsons, 48, was arrested in July 2011 and charged in Gentry County with two felony counts of having sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. His trial was moved to Nodaway County on a change of venue.

After the jury returned a guilty verdict on one count of statutory sodomy, and while the judge was polling its members, White said, Parsons walked over to him and said "I'm going to throw up."

Parsons then took a drink from a cup that he had been allowed to bring into the courtroom during deliberations and sat back down.

While no one in the courtroom saw Parsons ingest anything other than his drink, he began to convulse about a minute later. The judge dismissed the jury and an ambulance was called to take Parsons to a local hospital.

He was later transferred to Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph where he was pronounced dead.

White said a medical examiner's preliminary report concluded this was a case of cyanide poisoning. He added that a subsequent investigation, including a search of Parsons' home and car, revealed that Parsons had ordered a quantity of cyanide on June 25, having it shipped to him overnight.

Parsons lived in Stanberry, Mo., and owned Parsons' Tire & Battery in Maryville.

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