SPRINGFIELD - Seconds after learning a jury found him guilty of sexually assaulting a child, a defendant in Hampden Superior Court pulled a sharpened metal object from his pocket Friday morning and slashed his throat.
Donald R. Gibson, 39, of Springfield, was able to cut himself with a sharp piece of metal from a battery casing while Assistant Clerk of Courts Laura S. Gentile announced guilty verdicts on two counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14.
Court officers grabbed him, disarmed him and tried to control the bleeding as the jury was ushered out of the courtroom, according to those present.
First Assistant District Attorney James C. Orenstein said Gibson's wounds did not appear to be life-threatening. A spokesman with Baystate Medical Center said he had no information on Gibson's condition.
The Hampden County Sheriff's Department is investigating how Gibson could arm himself with a makeshift weapon and bring it into the courtroom undetected, said spokesman Richard J. McCarthy.
The object was a piece of metal from a battery case and about the size of a quarter, he said.
Gentile said she had just finished reading that Gibson had been found guilty of two counts and was about to announce he had been found innocent of a third when she was interrupted by Gibson screaming.
She said she looked over and saw court officers George Bass and Richard Budzyna rush to subdue him. And then she saw the blood.
"There was a lot of blood," she said.