Posted by DeAnn Smith, Digital Content Manager - email
MARYVILLE, MO (KCTV) -
A businessman convicted in a Nodaway County courtroom of molesting a 14-year-old girl committed suicide moments after hearing the verdict.
Steve Parsons, 48, was found guilty on two counts of sodomy. The gallery and court officials were horrified when minutes after the verdict was read he was convulsing in the courtroom after apparently swallowing a cyanide pill.
Parsons was pronounced dead at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph.
Jesse Murphy from the Maryville Daily Forum newspaper told KCTV5 that authorities believe Parsons had the pill in his mouth when he entered the courtroom last Thursday. The pill went undetected by courthouse security.
Parsons, the owner of Parsons Tire and Battery in St. Joseph, was arrested in July 2011 in Gentry County where he was charged with two felony counts of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl. His trial was moved to Nodaway County on a change of venue.
According to Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White, Parsons took a drink from a cup he was allowed to bring into the courtroom during jury deliberations, Murphy said. White says a preliminary report from the medical examiner indicates Parsons' death was a case of cyanide poisoning, adding that a search of Parsons' home and car revealed he had ordered cyanide to be shipped to his home.
A final report from the medical examiner's office is expected later this week.
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