A 41-year-old American man and father of two, Tyrel Martin Marhanka, was sitting in a courtroom in Taiwan during his sentencing on drug possession charges when he suddenly pulled a sharp object and stabbed it deep into his neck, unleashing a gush of blood.
Some witnesses said the object he stabbed himself with was a pair of scissors, while others said they saw him use two metallic objects. Court officials told the Times that Marhanka separated a pair of scissors into two sharp blades and plunged it into his neck.
According to the Taipei Times, the shocking incident took place after a judge gave Marhanka a four-year prison sentence for smuggling poppy seeds into the country and growing marijuana.
Marhanka was married to a Taiwanese woman and had two children, and he had lived in the island for over 15 years, AFP reported.
Marhanka was arrested in April 2015 after police discovered a large stash of illegal drugs at a rented house which he lived in. The drugs included hundreds of cannabis plants and 10 opium poppies.
He told police the plants were a “hobby” that he intended to use on his own and that he had no intention to sell them.
Witnesses said that after the judge read the sentence out loud, Marhanka turned to the interpreter, who informed him of the sentence.
“Four years?” a shocked Marhanka was heard saying.
The interpreter explained to Marhanka that the sentence could be appealed, but Marhanka said he didn’t want to do so.
“I don’t want to live anymore,” he yelled, before stabbing himself in the neck and severing at least one artery.
He was rushed to a hospital, where he died.
“We deeply regret that Tyrel Martin Marhanka killed himself during the sentencing,” the court said in a statement. “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.”