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« Baggy Saggy Pants now Illegal in Dublin, Georgia | Main | Love Triangle Leads to Death and Imprisonment »

Court Drama: Attempted Suicide on the Stand

What do you do if a judge gives you a sentence that you consider overly harsh?

Beg, Plead, Cry, Get Angry? Not if your name is Marcial Anguiano.

What you do is try to commit suicide! In court, on the stand, in front of the judge. 

Marcial Anguiano, 47, of Duncanville, Texas had an extensive criminal history, in fact he had previously served five separate prison terms. He had just pleaded guilty in front of state District Judge Larry Mitchell, to aggravated assault for cutting his niece with a butcher knife.

He had hoped to be sentenced to probation for the charge. Instead Judge Mitchell, perhaps influenced by Anguiano's criminal past, sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

"He looked up at me kind of quizzically and said, '40 years?'" Mitchell told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "And I said, 'Yes, 40 years.'"

What happened next was a complete surprise to everyone. Marcial Anguiano pulled out a razor blade and "put it to his throat hard, and blood started gushing out." The courtroom bailiffs rushed the defendant, handcuffed him and led him to the holding cell adjacent to the courtroom, where he waited until paramedics arrived.

Dallas County sheriff's spokeswoman Kim Leach said the blade cut into muscle but did not strike an artery. Anguiano was taken from the Dallas County courthouse on a stretcher with his neck covered in bandages. He was talking as he was carried out and was hospitalized in stable condition.

Anguiano bled on the railing that separates the courtroom audience from the front of the court, and on the first row of benches. Mitchell's court shut down for about 30 minutes while custodians cleaned up the mess.

"If the bailiffs hadn't intervened, he was certainly capable of causing his own death," Mitchell said.

It looks as if Anguiano tried to sneak two razor blades into the courtroom. Before the hearing began, a bailiff noticed Anguiano holding something in his hand. The bailiff ordered the defendant to put the object down on the defense table. He complied, and the bailiff confiscated one blade. But a second blade went undiscovered.

"We have great safety procedures and policies in place, but we are looking to see how this happened," Leach said. "If there was human error involved, there could be possible disciplinary action."

What is not known is if Anguiano will faces additional charges related to his suicide attempt. Judge Mitchell said his actions were almost certainly illegal but speculated that the "40-year sentence is probably more than enough for him."



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