A 41-year-old American resident in Taiwan stabbed himself to death after being sentenced for possession and cultivation of marijuana.
Tyrel Martin Marhanka, who had been living in Chunghwa, Taiwan, was arrested after police raided his house last April. Taipei Times reports that they found more than 200 cannabis plants, 195 dried cannabis plants and 10 opium poppies at his accommodation in Yongjing Township.
Further investigation revealed that Marhanka purchased around 800 poppy seeds in America and brought them into Taiwan in 2011. He later procured marijuana seeds from a British website, which shipped them into the country for him. When he was arrested, he told police that he grew the plants as a “hobby.”
The court found him guilty of growing marijuana and smuggling poppy and marijuana seeds into the country. Although he could have received a 7-year sentence, the Chunghwa District Court decided since Marhanka did not have an intent to distribute, he would be sentenced to 4 years.
Marhanka appeared shocked at the length of his sentence. He then exclaimed “I don’t want to live anymore” and pulled out disassembled scissors before stabbing himself in the neck. The bailiffs in the courtroom rushed him to Yuanlin Christian Hospital, but his injuries proved too severe and he passed away 30 minutes later.
The court released a statement, expressing deep regret for this incident. They also said, “Marhanka complied with out investigation and appeared calm. There was no reason for us to believe that he was suicidal.”
The building that the court is in is quite old and there is no room for an X-Ray machine–there is only a metal detector. Unfortunately, it could not detect the scissors that were hidden within Marhanka’s magazine. We will install an X-Ray machine and increase security in our new building to prevent this from happening in the future.
Marhanka had been leaving in Taiwan for more than 15 years and leaves behind a wife and two children.
Back in 2014, Two men were arrested after it was discovered that they’d been growing marijuana in a building only some 100 meters away from police headquarters in Taichung under the belief that “the most dangerous place is usually the safest.”
By Sarah Lin
[Images via Apple Daily / Focus Taiwan]