SANTA ANA CALIFORNIA – A 56-year-old man slashed his throat Wednesday with a razor blade – moments after jurors found him guilty of sexually assaulting a teenager in Huntington Beach.
Jeffrey Scott Jones, who was out of custody on bail during the trial, cut his throat in C-28 on the courtroom’s eighth floor just after the verdict had been read, authorities said.
Deputies rendered first aid and Jones, who was uncooperative, had to be handcuffed, sheriff’s Lt. Mark Stichter said.
Jones was transported by paramedics to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries, said Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority. He remained under guard Wednesday afternoon by deputies.
The Sheriff’s Department is investigating how Jones managed to bring a razor through a security checkpoint at the court building, Stichter said.
Ed Welbourn, who is Jones’ attorney, said he was stunned by the incident.
"It was totally unexpected and very unfortunate," he said.
Welbourn said a courtroom clerk had just finished reading the jury's guilty verdict when Jones suddenly cut himself with a standard razor blade.
"I didn't see it happen, my attention was on the jury, but from what people tell me he had a blade somewhere in his clothing and he pulled it out when the verdicts were read," he said.
Welbourn said Jones' head hit the table and blood began pouring out of his neck. Courtroom bailiffs rushed to him and called for medical aid.
He said his client didn't show any previous signs of mental distress during the trial: "He was confident in his innocence."
Jones, a Huntington Beach resident, previously taught Advanced Placement English at Libra Academy in Huntington Park.
He sexually assaulted a girl between Sept. 1, 2012 and April 30, 2013,prosecutors said. The Register is not specifying her relationship with Jones to avoid identifying a sexual assault victim.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown had told jurors that a sexual-assault test performed on the girl turned up Jones’ DNA.
Since the abuse was reported, the girl has been in youth homes, juvenile hall and has lived on the streets, and at one point was arrested for stealing a bike while attempting to run away, the prosecutor added.
The county is offering counseling services available to court employees and jurors who may have witnessed the incident, said Gwen Vieau, spokeswoman for Orange County Superior Court.
For his conviction, Jones faces a maximum sentence of 68 years to life when he is sentenced on Nov. 4.