An American man killed himself by cutting his neck in a courtroom in Changhua County yesterday morning, after being convicted of possession of marijuana and sentenced to four years in prison.
The man — identified as 41-year-old US citizen Tyrel Martin Marhanka — was rushed to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
According to witnesses, after the Changhua District Court judge read his ruling, Marhanka turned to the translator, who told him the sentence, before Marhanka was heard saying: “Four years?”
Photo: Screengrab from the Internet
The translator told Marhanka that he could appeal the decision, but he replied: “I don’t want to appeal.”
Becoming agitated, he yelled: “I don’t want to live anymore,” took out two metal objects, and with one in each hand stabbed himself on both sides of the neck, severing the arteries, which gushed blood, according to witnesses.
Court officials said Marhanka had smuggled in a pair of 21cm scissors, which he had separated into two sharp metal blades.
Marhanka was arrested in April last year and charged with possession of marijuana and other narcotics, after police found more than 200 cannabis plants, 195 dried cannabis plants and 10 opium poppies at a rented house in Yongjing Township (永靖), Changhua County.
At the time of his arrest, Marhanka told police officers he grew the plants as a “hobby” and that they were all intended for his own use.
Marhanka had lived in Taiwan for more than 15 years, and had a Taiwanese wife and two children — a son in second grade and a daughter in kindergarten — court officials said.
His wife was distraught when notified of the news, and went to the hospital where he had died.
The district court convened a press conference yesterday afternoon, in which presiding judge Wang Yi-min (王義閔) said the court regretted what happened, and that Marhanka’s family and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) had been contacted through judiciary channels.
Wang said there was negligence in the incident, adding that the court would improve security measures, including installing an X-ray machine to check on people entering the court’s new building.
Wang said the bailiffs in the courtroom rushed in to help Marhanka and tried to stop the bleeding, but the incident happened too quickly and they were too late to prevent his death.
Medics who rushed Marhanka to the local hospital said the victim’s neck had 12cm and 7cm lacerations on the left and right sides respectively. He was still conscious when they arrived at the hospital, but died about 30 minutes later.
MORE ARRIVALS ALLOWED: Taiwan yesterday increased its cap on arrivals to 60,000 from 50,000 ahead of a full border opening with a weekly cap of 150,000 on Oct. 13 Travelers arriving in Taiwan from Oct. 13 would no longer be required to quarantine on arrival and visitors of all nationalities would be allowed to enter, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) announced yesterday. However, the number of arrivals would be capped at 150,000 per week, he added. Travelers aged two or older would be given four rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits on arrival and be asked to monitor their health for seven days, Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) told a news conference. Under the new arrival protocol, travelers would have to take a test on the day of arrival or the day after, followed
SOVEREIGN NATION: The Chinese premier’s remarks about the CCP’s resolve to achieve unification sought to undermine the legitimacy of Taiwan, the MAC said Taiwan will never accept Beijing’s attempts to undermine its sovereignty, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday, after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) at its National Day celebrations in Beijing vowed to achieve unification with Taiwan. The CCP’s statement was not conducive to peaceful cross-strait relations, the council said. The event, hosted by the Chinese State Council, featured Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (李克強), the other five CCP Politburo Standing Committee members and Vice President Wang Qishan (王岐山), as well as 500 guests from China and abroad. Taiwanese based in China also attended the ceremony, Xinhua news agency
Washington is evaluating a transfer of weapons systems requested by Taiwan, according to a copy of a report by the Ministry of National Defense (MND) that is to be submitted to lawmakers tomorrow. Asked whether the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile would be among the weapons systems, the ministry refused to comment, but said that it would not rule out announcing the specifics later this year. The ministry’s domestically sourced high-priority military investments include submarines, next-generation light frigates, rescue ships, advanced trainer jets and infantry fighting vehicles, the report said. Planned deals include F-16A and F-16B jet performance upgrades, navigation and targeting
DEFENSE-READY: The armament of the ‘Yushan’ allows for amphibious combat operations, the head of a firm involved in the ship’s construction said The navy yesterday took delivery of the first locally developed and built naval ship of more than 10,000 tonnes in a ceremony in Kaohsiung presided over by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文). The ROCS Yushan, an amphibious transport dock, was the result of a government-initiated indigenous shipbuilding project seeking to establish autonomy over national defense, Tsai said. She thanked CSBC Corp, Taiwan (台船), the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology and the navy for their contributions. The military needs the best equipment to uphold peace and defend Taiwan as it faces military threats from China, Tsai said. The 153m long and 23m wide Yushan