HONG KONG : An American father-of-two has killed himself in a Taiwan court after being given a four-year prison sentence. English teacher Tyrel Martin Marhanka plunged a pair of scissors into his neck and severed his arteries on Thursday at the Changhua District Court, moments after a judge handed him the jail term for possessing marijuana and opium. The 41-year-old, who used to live in Illinois, reportedly turned to the translator, who told him the punishment, and said: 'Four years?'
The Taipei Times reported that he was then asked if he wanted to appeal the sentence, but refused. After incident He was rushed to a hospital but could not be saved. A prison term of up to seven years was possible, but the court gave him a lesser sentence of four years because he had not sold marijuana and was growing it for his own use.
Meanwhile he said I don’t want to live any more,” he said, before taking out two metal objects, apparently a disassembled pair of scissors, and then cutting his neck, the newspaper reported. The court said it felt “deep regret” at Mr. Marhanka’s death. An initial investigation found a magazine that he seemed to have used to conceal the scissors. A metal detector apparently did not uncover the scissors when he entered the building. The court said that the building did not have enough space for a more advanced scanner but that it would install X-ray machines in a new building.
Marahanka was not in detention before the hearing, and did not show any outward indications of suicidal impulses, the court said. Mr. Marhanka had a wife and two children in Taiwan and had lived there for several years. He had worked as an English teacher, but his neighbors said he lost his job after he was charged in the marijuana case, the Central News Agency reported. His death is likely to raise questions about security standards in Taiwan’s judicial system. Last year, inmates in a prison in southern Taiwan used scissors from a workshop to take guards hostage. They broke into a prison armory to seize firearms, which six of the inmates used to kill themselves, prompting calls for improved oversight.