An American man on trial in Taiwan for marijuana possession decided he’d rather die than go to prison.
According to the Taipei Times, 41-year-old U.S. citizen Tyrel Martin Marhanka took his life inside the courtroom as soon as the judge handed over his four-year sentence. Tyrel had lived in Taiwan for over 15 years where he was married to a Taiwanese woman and had a son in second grade as well as a daughter in kindergarten, said court officials.
Marhanka was standing trial for marijuana possession as well as other narcotics for which he was arrested last year in April. The Taipei Times reported more than 200 cannabis plants, 195 dried cannabis plants and 10 opium poppies, were discovered by police at a rented house.
Despite the large amount of drugs Marhanka reportedly told police the plants were for his personal use and that he grew them as a “hobby.”
The grisly suicide happened Thursday morning. Witnesses said the judge read the sentence, which was then told to Marhanka by a translator. Marhanka was reportedly heard saying, “Four years?”
Marhanka was also reportedly heard saying “I don’t want to appeal” when the translator told him he could appeal the ruling.
“I don’t want to live anymore,” Marhanka yelled, according to witnesses, as he took out two metal objects (one in each hand) and stabbed himself on both sides of the neck. Marhanka severed arteries with witnesses saying blood was gushing.
The metal objects were identified as a pair of scissors Marhanka had separated. He died about 30 minutes after reaching the hospital said medics.
In a press conference Thursday afternoon held by the district court, presiding judge Wang Yi-min said the court was going to improve the court’s building security by installing an X-ray machine.
How devastating for his family.