Man sentenced for theft cuts his throat in courtroom - Tucson News Now

Man cuts throat in court: 'I wasn't going to go in their jail and suffer'

Terry Barnes Terry Barnes

A man sentenced for a theft conviction in Clackamas County used a razor fragment to slit his throat in court Monday.

Deputies said Terry Barnes, 55, is confined to a wheelchair and snuck a piece of the razor through the security system at the Clackamas County Courthouse.

"It was a small piece," Barnes said in a phone interview with Fox 12 from his hospital room Tuesday. "I had it in my mouth."

The razor fragment was shorter than a quarter coin in length.

Investigators said Barnes and his wheelchair were patted down and visually inspected by security officers as he entered the building. His belongings and jacket were also X-rayed, but the razor was not discovered.

Barnes was accompanied by his wife into the courthouse.

Judge Mike Wetzel read the sentencing to Barnes, who was cited for theft from the Home Depot in Happy Valley on June 25, 2012. It was 180 days behind bars and he was to be taken into custody immediately.

Before courtroom deputies reached him, they said Barnes declared that he had been given a "death sentence" and produced the razor blade. Deputies said he then began slicing both sides of his neck.

Barnes said he didn't plan to use the razor in the courtroom. Instead, he had it in case he was taken into custody.

He said ultimately his decision was based on his concerns about getting proper health care behind bars.

"They were giving me a death sentence, to me, that's what they were doing," he said. "And I wasn't going to go in their jail and suffer."

Courtroom deputies immediately radioed for medical help to respond. Barnes was also ordered to drop the razor and he did.

Barnes then rolled forward out of his chair onto the floor, according to witnesses.

Deputies applied direct pressure to the wounds and began first aid until paramedics arrived.

Barnes was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive. A peace officer hold was placed on Barnes, meaning he was delivered to mandatory hospital care and a professional mental evaluation.

Because his sentencing was not completed Monday, a new sentencing date will be scheduled once he's released from the hospital. He was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

Barnes has multiple convictions over the past few decades, including unauthorized use of a vehicle and drug possession. In December 2011, he was convicted of failing to report as a sex offender.

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