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Texas man who chugged ‘cloudy’ water in court dies after being found guilty of child sexual assault

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Nataly Keomoungkhoun

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS — A man who drank from a water bottle after his guilty verdict in a Denton County courtroom Thursday was taken to a hospital and later died Thursday, according to his defense attorney.

Edward Peter Leclair, 57, of Frisco faced five counts of child sexual assault related to an incident that took place in June 2016, according to jail records. He was arrested in July 2018 and later posted bond.

Leclair’s defense attorney Mike Howard, who represented Leclair throughout the case, said this week’s trial began with jury selection Monday.

Closing arguments were presented Thursday morning and jurors began deliberating shortly after 10 a.m., Howard said. After 3 1/2 hours of deliberations, the jury convicted Leclair on all five counts.

Edward Peter Leclair. Credit: Frisco Police Department.

Throughout the trial, Howard said, Leclair had been drinking from a clear plastic water bottle. On Thursday, following the announcement of the first two guilty verdicts, Howard noticed that Leclair took a “long drink” from the bottle.

Denton County prosecutor Jamie Beck told the Denton Record-Chronicle the water bottle was filled with “cloudy” liquid. Howard said he did not see whether the liquid was cloudy but was told that at least two people in the courtroom noticed it was cloudy or yellow, like lemonade.

Following the verdict, Leclair was taken into custody and sent to a holding cell before the punishment phase of the trial. He faced up to 100 years in prison.

Howard said he went into the holding cell to discuss the next steps with Leclair, who seemed to be “in a state of shock.”

“He appeared as you would imagine anybody who had just gotten very serious sobering news,” Howard said.

After Howard left the cell to talk to a witness, he said he heard commotion and that bailiffs said that Leclair had been vomiting for several minutes. EMS personnel arrived about 10 minutes later, Howard said, and Leclair was placed on a gurney and taken to a hospital.

Howard said Leclair looked “noticeably gray.”

“I thought at that time that it was very serious and there was a good chance that he would not survive,” he said.

Leclair’s water bottle was collected as evidence, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported. His cause of death has not been determined by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Howard said he was unaware of any previous medical history that could have possibly led to Leclair’s death.

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©2022 The Dallas Morning News. Visit dallasnews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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