An evangelical Christian pastor tried to commit suicide in a Florida courtroom moments after a jury found him guilty of felony sex crimes involving a 15-year-old boy.
The Rev. James Harris, 64, formerly the pastor of Belle Glade’s Second Baptist Church, stuffed several pills in his mouth and tried to swallow them before West Palm Beach courtroom deputies pounced on him and ordered him to spit them out. Deputies called West Palm Beach Fire Rescue who removed Harris from the courtroom handcuffed to a gurney, the Sun Sentinel reported.
Harris had sat emotion-less through a three-day trial leading up to the verdict, according to reporters. He faces up to 80 years in prison.
Prosecutors charged Harris with luring his victim by claiming to have professional contacts who could help the boy realize his dream of playing in the NFL. The victim testified that Harris had performed sex acts with him on two occasions.
Prosecutors played a video that Harris made of his victim masturbating according to his directions while watching a porn movie. They played also played a video showing the boy having sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend.
Harris was previously arrested in March 2009 for aggravated assault after attacking a woman with a baseball bat at the Belle Glade Elks Club.
Harris is being held on suicide watch at the Palm Beach County jail pending his Oct. 5 sentencing hearing.