DENTON COUNTY, TX – A 57-year-old man who’d been found guilty of multiple counts of child sexual assault earlier in August died shortly after chugging a “cloudy” liquid from a water bottle after his guilty verdict was delivered in court.

On August 11th, 57-year-old Edward Peter Leclair was sitting inside of a Denton County courtroom when a guilty verdict came back on five counts of child sexual assault. The case in question related to a June 2016 incident which Leclair was arrested for in July of 2018 but had been out on bond following his arrest.

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The trial kicked off on August 8th, with closing arguments having been delivered a mere three days later. Reportedly, the jury deliberated for about three-and-a-half hours before returning the guilty verdict.

Mike Howard, Leclair’s defense attorney throughout the case, noted that his client had been drinking from a water bottle casually throughout the trial – but something was different after the guilty verdict was delivered on August 11th. After the guilty verdict was announced in court, Howard had observed Leclair take a “long drink” from the bottle.

While Howard didn’t notice it at the time, Denton County prosecutor Jamie Beck claimed that the liquid inside the bottle appeared “cloudy” when Leclair began chugging it.

Beck added just how suspicious the pounding of the liquid was after the verdict was read, telling a local news outlet, “He chugged it. It wasn’t like he was just taking sips of water. He was literally throwing it back, so to speak.”

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Leclair was taken to a holding cell following his guilty verdict, with his attorney noting that he appeared to be “in a state of shock” but wasn’t too thrown off by said expression considering his client “appeared as you would imagine anybody who had just gotten very serious, sobering news.”

Indeed, the charges Leclair was found guilty of could’ve seen him spending the rest of his life behind bars – and that matter would come to fruition in a sense, considering that Leclair would die shortly after being escorted to the holding cell.

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Howard stated that he left the holding cell where his client was being held in order to talk with a witness when he suddenly heard bailiffs claiming that Leclair had been vomiting for several minutes. Roughly 10 minutes later, EMS arrived on the scene and removed Leclair on a gurney, with Howard saying that his client looked “noticeably gray” upon being wheeled out.

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

An official cause of death has not been determined as the results of an autopsy are pending. Authorities have since taken the water bottle into evidence, but no information has been released regarding what the bottle may have contained. Considering that Leclair was on bond at the time of his trial, he could’ve brought in the bottle into the courtroom himself.

This piece was written by Gregory Hoyt on August 14, 2022. It originally appeared in and is used by permission.

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