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Massey case similar to 2012 death in Phoenix courtroom

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If Jon K. Massey ingested homemade cyanide, he wouldn’t be the first person to do so publicly after being found guilty in a trial.

On Friday in Jefferson County Court, Mr. Massey, 52, Watertown, was convicted of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl. On Sunday, he died at Samaritan Medical Center, two days after taking an undetermined substance immediately after the verdict was read, according to a news release from the Sheriff’s Department.

On Monday, two law-enforcement sources who were not authorized to speak publicly about the subject told the Times that Mr. Massey said he had taken cyanide, a highly toxic chemical compound. Sheriff John P. Burns said Monday it could take weeks to determine the exact cause of death.

Nearly two years ago, on July 12, 2012, the Arizona Republic reported that Phoenix resident Michael Marin, a former Wall Street trader, had collapsed and died after being found guilty, in a Phoenix courtroom, of arson. Mr. Marin, the newspaper reported, was believed to have made the cyanide pill from a canister of sodium cyanide police subsequently found in his car.

The compound is used in mining and jewelry making, among other manufacturing purposes, and can be purchased through chemical supply houses. In Mr. Marin’s case, the Arizona Republic reported, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office determined the substance had been purchased from a supplier called Chemical-Supermarket.com and was delivered by United Parcel Service.

“Television video from Marin’s court hearing appeared to show him put something in his mouth immediately after the verdict was read. Seven minutes later, he went into convulsions and fell to the floor. Paramedics were unable to revive him,” the newspaper reported.

Cyanide is not a controlled substance.

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