James Richard Harris shocked onlookers in a Florida courtroom on Thursday by staging a fake suicide attempt after being found guilty of sexual abuses against teens.
After hearing that he would be held in police custody until his sentencing on October 5, Harris reportedly grabbed a glass of water from a nearby desk and downed several white pills.
Toxicology reports have since revealed that the substance Harris ingested consisted merely of breath mints.
“Yes, mints,” the prosecutor in the case, Chrichet Mixon, told area station News Channel 5. “My initial reaction was the same as the one I had at the time this happened: Nothing this man does surprises me.”
After being seized by intervening authorities, Harris was placed on suicide watch in the Palm Springs County jail following the incident. Harris had been wheeled out of the courtroom handcuffed to a stretcher seemingly in a semi-conscious state.
“He had refused to tell paramedics what he had downed but alleged he would be dead by nightfall,” reports the Daily Mail about the occurrence.
On Monday, the 64-year-old former pastor was still alive; the revelations of the toxicology report only added to the prosecutor’s portrait of the man as a manipulator. “It just goes to show that he always has an ulterior motive,” Mixon added to the TV outlet. “He clearly had an ulterior motive when he befriended those children, and he had a motive for doing what he did in the courtroom.”
Harris faces up to 80 years in prison for filming a 15-year-old boy while the youth was masturbating, and videotaping a 14-year-old girl and a sixteen-year-old boy engaged in sexual intercourse. Harris lured the younger boy into a relationship by promising to help him with his football career.
Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.