*In West Palm Beach, Florida, a so called minister, Rev. James Harris downed a handful of breath mints Thursday in what people in the courtroom thought was a suicide attempt after a jury had convicted him of molesting a 15-year-old boy and videotaping several teens having sex, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office toxicology report revealed Monday.
Harris looked barely conscious as paramedics ushered him to the elevator on a gurney. The 64-year-old refused to tell deputies what kind of pills he had tried to swallow — but he promised them he would be dead by nightfall.
On Monday, Harris was still alive and still in jail, facing an 80-year prison sentence. Then the toxicology screen on the tablets came back.
“Yes, mints,” prosecutor Chrichet Mixon said Monday, confirming the results. “My initial reaction was the same as the one I had at the time this happened: Nothing this man does surprises me.”
The revelation Monday adds the latest twist to the bizarre case of the one-time community leader, whose trial last week exposed what Mixon and fellow prosecutor Michael Kugler called a predatory scheme in which Harris cajoled a teenage football player into allowing him to perform sex acts on him in exchange for helping him become a football star.
Rumors that Harris had molested several boys connected to the Glades Central High school football program have been circulating for decades, but authorities didn’t arrest him until 2009, when a videotape of teens having sex surfaced on a camcorder allegedly stolen from Harris’ house.
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