A PAEDOPHILE convicted of having sex with a teenager took a fatal overdose of cyanide in the courtroom before he could be jailed.
Court staff and his family looked on in horror as Steve Parsons suddenly keeled over and had a deadly seizure.
The 48-year-old had moments earlier been found guilty of statutory sodomy of a 14-year-old girl.
He was about to be jailed for seven years – until he decided to impose his own death sentence in front of his own family.
Witnesses said Parsons pretended he was going to be sick, telling court staff: “I’m going to throw up.”
He walked to a court clerk’s table to get a sip of water.
At the time the judge was polling the jury after they had reached a guilty verdict after a three day trial in Maryville, Missouri.
Parsons took a sip of water and returned to his seat.
No one in the court saw him slip a cyanide pill into his mouth, but the well known business owner suddenly began arching his back and had a seizure.
Court staff tried to help Parsons but he went into cardiac arrest on the way to hospital.
He was pronounced dead at the Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph.
A later search of Parsons car revealed a scrap of paper with the name of a chemical company and a phone number.
The company confirmed to police that Parsons had placed an order of 100mg of cyanide and had it shipped overnight to his home.
A medical examiner confirmed Parson’s death was from cyanide poisoning.
Parsons well-known in the towns of Maryville and Stanberry as the owner of Parson’s Tyre and Service.
Gentry County Sheriff Darrin White was in court when Parsons collapsed.
He said: “It’s not common to see someone just fall over dead in the courtroom even though they’ve just been found guilty of a crime.
“I was quite surprised and disappointed and unhappy and sorry. Sorry for the victim, sorry for her family.”
Biggs says he has mixed feelings about Parson’s death.
Biggs said: “I suspect that it’s just more tragedy on top of tragedy.”