American Kills Himself in Court After Marijuana Conviction

An American cram school teacher killed himself in a courthouse in Changhua County this morning after being sentenced to a four year prison term for growing marijuana.

Upon hearing the judges decision, 41 year-old Tyrel Martin Marhanka, Chinese name 李瑪翰 (Li Mahan), pulled a pair of scissors out of his pocket and stabbed himself in the neck.

Marhanka was rushed to hospital but the damage to blood vessels and his windpipe was too severe and doctors were unable to save him. He was pronounced dead at 11:15.

In a previous hearing, Marhanka had claimed he suffered from a hereditary mental problem and smoked marijuana to help him cope with the condition.

Pictures on local media websites showed the blood-splattered floor of the courthouse.

American man Marhanka being led to court by police
An American man who committed suicide in a courthouse in Changhua County, Taiwan, Wednesday June 16, after being given a four year prison term for growing marijuana. Photo: China Times
Marijuana plants in Changhua, Taiwan
Marijuana plants that were grown in Changhua County. Taiwanese authorities treat the plant with the same severity as they do heroin and other hard drugs. Photo: China Times

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