A US citizen killed himself in courtroom in Taiwan on Thursday after being given a four year prison sentence for being convicted of growing marijuana and opium at his home in Changhua, in central Taiwan.
Upon learning of his sentence from a court interpreter, 41 year old Tyrel Martin Marhanka replied "four years?" The interpreter told Marhanka that he could appeal, but Marhanka replied "I don't want to appeal." According to the Taipei Times, Marhanka became agitated and yelled "I don't want to live anymore", before removing two 21cm scissor blades and stabbing himself on both sides of the neck, severing the arteries.
At the time of the April arrest, the Taipei Times reports that police found more than 200 cannabis plants, 195 dried cannabis plants and 10 opium poppies at a rented house in Yongjing Township, Changhua County.
A prison term of up to seven years was possible, but the court gave just four years because Marhanka hadn't sold anything, and used just for his own use.
An initial investigation found that Marhanka was able to smuggle the scissor blades into the courtroom with a magazine, and the metal detector didn't uncover the scissors when he entered the building.
The court said it felt "deep regret", and that the building didn't have enough space for a more advanced scanner, but would install X-ray machines in a new building.
Marhanka had lived in Taiwan for more than 15 years, and worked as an English teacher. He leaves behind a wife and two children as a result of this bizarre and tragic incident.
Here is local news covereage of the incident.