An American man has killed himself by slashing his neck with a scissor blade in a Taiwan court as he was jailed for drug offences. Tyrel Martin Marhanka, 41, was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on Thursday.
He had just been handed a four-year sentence at Changhua District Court for growing opium and marijuana. Witnesses told the Taipei Times that after the judge read aloud the sentence Marhanka turned to the interpreter and said: “Four years?”
“I don’t want to live anymore!” Marhanka reportedly shouted.
He was arrested in April 2015 after police discovered hundreds of cannabis plants and 10 opium poppies at his rented house in Changhua county, according to the Taipei Times.
According to local media, Marhanka told investigators he was growing the plants as a “hobby” and purely for his own consumption.
The American had reportedly been living in Taiwan for more than 15 years with his Taiwanese wife and two children and teaching English.
The court said in a statement: “He was co-operative during the investigation and the trial.
“His attitude was mild and he did not show any signs that he would commit suicide.”
Marhanka apparently smuggled two scissor blades into the court by hiding them in a magazine.
It is not clear if the magazine passed through the metal-detecting gate at the entrance. The blades and magazine were recovered by police, said the official statement. The court said it had installed two X-ray scanners to strengthen the security check.