79°F
weather icon Partly Cloudy

Man on trial makes suicide attempt

A man on trial in District Court on multiple child sex charges attempted suicide Wednesday, disrupting the judicial proceedings against him.

Jackie Lee Argabright Jr. was thought to be intoxicated when he showed up for court Wednesday morning. He was incoherent and somewhat disheveled in appearance.

The defendant is facing five counts of sexual assault on a child under 14 years of age. The charges stem from allegations made by two girls who say the defendant performed oral sex acts upon them and also forced them to perform oral sex acts on him.

After concerns were raised about Argabright’s sobriety and ability to assist in his own defense, the defendant was administered a preliminary breath test (PBT). Argabright was either unable or unwilling to complete the test and so was placed in handcuffs outside the presence of the jury.

The man was on his way to jail for the day on a contempt of court charge. But then he had an emergency medical episode and an ambulance was called to the courthouse.

Argabright was wheeled away on a stretcher, but by late afternoon he was being flown by helicopter to a Las Vegas hospital.

Sources in law enforcement say Argabright guzzled a near-fatal dose of antifreeze in the early-morning hours before he was to appear in court. His organs reportedly began to fail. The man was still alive Thursday morning.

Argabright’s defense attorney, Michael Becker, requested a mistrial on Thursday morning, but the prosecutor, Timothy Treffinger, stated that the defendant’s medical issues were due to his own actions, making the point that a mistrial should not be granted.

Judge Robert Lane denied Becker’s request and chose to continue with the trial, regardless of the defendant’s ability to return before the end of the week. Lane agreed the defendant’s own actions led to his absence in the courtroom on Thursday.

Closing statements are expected in the trial, which started Tuesday, by Friday morning.

Witnesses called to testify on Tuesday included the two alleged victims, the defendant’s wife, Jaime Argabright, and two sheriff’s deputies involved in the case, Jennifer Jonas and David Boruchowitz. Jonas recently resigned her position at the sheriff’s office.

Jaime Argabright described to the court how she felt when her husband was arrested.

“I didn’t know what to believe. I was in a state of shock,” she said.

She was also asked to describe her sexual relationship with her husband. She said it amounted to only infrequent intimacy.

“I took it as partly a lack of interest and partly something else,” she said.

Later she explained that part of the issue was her husband’s job kept him on the road for close to nine months out of the year.

The defense asked her if she would have stayed with her husband if she believed that he committed the alleged crimes; she said she would not have. The couple has been married 30 years.

Jonas was asked her impression of Jaime Argabright’s behavior during the police investigation.

“Not that she did anything that was uncooperative, but that she didn’t seem too receptive or accepting of what we were telling her,” the former deputy said.

The final witness to testify on Tuesday was Boruchowitz, who had a lengthy stay on the witness stand.

Boruchowitz testified that the second victim had recanted, in writing, during the investigation. He told the court that she later retracted the letter, but not until after she was arrested for filing a false report.

Boruchowitz explained that the decision to take the minor into custody was in the best interest of the child, because it was believed that she was coached to retract her allegations.

Argabright’s attorneys questioned Boruchowitz about phone interviews he had with the defendant at the time the allegations were made. Boruchowitz characterized Argabright’s answers as passive, neither admitting nor denying guilt.

Going through transcripts of the phone call between the detective and Argabright, the defense pointed out that Argabright stated, “I didn’t do it,” on numerous occasions during phone conversations. Boruchowitz continued to testify that Argabright’s demeanor was passive or non-responsive during interviews with law enforcement.

The detective has made headlines for the last 12 months, including in previous news reports detailing attempts by local defense attorneys to secure Brady material that could be used to impeach the detective’s testimony in court.

Outside the presence of the jury, Argabright’s attorneys had sought to present some of this information to the jury but that request was denied by Lane.

Argabright’s medical condition was unknown by press time. A verdict is expected in the case by late Friday.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
FEMA vaccination clinic shifts to Beatty

Hundreds of Nye County residents braved warm temperatures in order to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations in Pahrump on Thursday.

WGU unveils Essential Workers Scholarship

Western Governors University Nevada announced Wednesday a new scholarship program for essential workers seeking degrees in high-demand career fields including business, teaching, information technology and health professions, such as nursing.

Hospice symposium to focus on equity in end-of-life care

Nathan Adelson Hospice will host its 17th annual Multicultural Symposium virtually beginning at 1 p.m. April 14 with a variety of topics addressing equity in end-of-life care.

State’s tax amnesty period ends May 1 for businesses

There is less than one month left of Nevada’s Tax Amnesty program that began Feb. 1. Business entities that have unpaid tax debt can file/pay their taxes online or download the missing tax returns that are available on the Department of Taxation’s website https://tax.nv.gov/

Fleeing man arrested at gunpoint in Pahrump

One man was arrested and taken into custody following a disturbance at Bank of America just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 6.

Nye County votes to fully reopen, sidestep mask mandate

On Tuesday, April 6, the Nye County Commission, after several hours of public comment and debate, voted 5-0 to approve fully reopening Nye County and its businesses, and to essentially do away with the mask mandate.

Letters to the Editor

Good, bad, and ugly are present in today’s society

Overnight oatmeal is power packed for pennies

When it comes to cheap eats it doesn’t get more frugal and fabulous than oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, packed with fiber and nutrients, the taste is compatible with endless variations, and costs mere pennies per serving. Are you sold yet? How about this: you can literally make it while your sleep. Does that appeal to your inner multi-tasker? Yup. Mine, too.

Drive-thru Senior Fair set at Inspirations in Pahrump

Pahrump Valley seniors should mark their calendars for Saturday, April 17 when they will have a chance to head out to the Drive-Thru Senior Fair at Inspirations Senior Living Center, where there will be a plethora of organizations gathered for an event intended to help educate the older population about the area’s many valuable resources.

Pahrump’s Community Easter Curbside hailed as huge hit

At 10 a.m. on a bright and sunny Saturday morning, a line of vehicles started forming at the NyE Communities Coalition and suddenly it was go-time for the dozens of volunteers on hand for this year’s Community Easter Curbside Pick-up Event.