A man who died Thursday shortly after he was convicted of a sodomy charge at the Nodaway County Courthouse in Maryville, Mo., ingested cyanide, according to a preliminary report.
Steve Parsons, 48, of Stanberry, Mo., fell into a seizure moments after a jury convicted him of statutory sodomy and found him not guilty of forcible sodomy in Nodaway County Circuit Court.
Nodaway County Sheriff Darren White said that on June 25, Mr. Parsons purchased 100 grams of cyanide (the minimum order) from a Virginia company, had it shipped overnight to his business, Parsons Tire & Battery in Maryville, and was somehow able to ingest it.
“The preliminary autopsy reports, they confirm that it was, as the medical examiner put it, ‘a classic case of cyanide poisoning,’” he said.
Mr. Parsons was initially taken to St. Francis Hospital in Maryville, then transferred to Heartland Regional Medical Center, Mr. White said. Mr. Parsons’ condition deteriorated while en route to Heartland, where he was pronounced dead.
Mr. White was present in the courtroom and described the chilling scene.
“Shortly after the announcement (of the conviction), Mr. Parsons stood up and came back to the bailiff station where I was seated and said ‘I think I’m going to throw up,’” Mr. White said.
Mr. Parsons then took a drink his attorneys had brought from a nearby fast food restaurant while the jury was under deliberation. Less than two minutes later, he threw his head back, arched his back, and fell into a seizure.
Mr. White said the department awaits the final autopsy report, but the suspicions surrounding Mr. Parsons’ death largely have been cleared by the report.
Mr. Parsons was charged July 20, 2012, in Gentry County Circuit Court with second-degree statutory sodomy and forcible sodomy for allegedly having sex with a 17-year-old girl. A change of venue moved the case to Nodaway County, where he was convicted Thursday of the statutory sodomy charge.