A teacher convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl pulled a razor blade and slashed his throat in a California courtroom moments after the verdict.
Jeffrey Scott Jones, 56, of Huntington Beach, was rushed to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries on Wednesday.
Jones, who taught Advanced Placement English classes at the Libra Academy in Huntington Park, was accused of molesting and having sex with a teenage relative of his live-in girlfriend in 2012 and 2013. Prosecutors said DNA evidence pointed to Jones.
The defence argued that the DNA evidence wasn't conclusive and the girl lied to cover up her marijuana use.
A Santa Ana jury deliberated about two hours before convicting Jones of continuous sexual abuse and aggravated sexual assault of a child, which carry a potential sentence of 66 years to life in prison.
"Right after the judge asked if we wanted jurors polled, both lawyers said no, and then he took a razor out of his left pocket and slashed his throat," prosecutor Heather Brown told City News Service. "His head hit the table, and I thought he fainted. But then I saw the blood and the razor on the table."
"I didn't see it even though I was sitting next to him" and only became concerned when Jones hit the table, defence lawyer Ed Welbourn said.
"It's very unfortunate, the whole thing," he said. "We respect the jury's decision, but we thought there was reasonable doubt as to what occurred ... It's just terrible. The good news is it looks like he will recover."
The county Sheriff's Department will investigate how Jones, who had been free on bail, managed to get the razor blade through court security, Lt. Mark Stichter said.
According to OC Weekly, Jones was a high school teacher for 30 years and worked at Bell High School, Gahr High School in Cerritos and Libra Academy in Huntington Park. The charges were filed in 2013.
- With AP