85°F
weather icon Clear

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.

THE LATEST
Landscape Tour will highlight local yards

The Pahrump Valley Garden Club is all set to hold its 16th Annual Landscape Tour and anyone with an interest in gardening, plants or yard art will not want to miss out. This year’s event features six local yards, all hand-picked by the Garden Club members to give attendees a wide variety of landscape types to peruse.

GALLERY: Celebrating the lives of lost loved ones

Butterflies are a symbol of transformation and one of the most transformative things a person can experience is the death of someone they love.

Local families invited to Community Baby Shower

Raising a child can be hard. That’s something the members of Pahrump Mothers Corner understand all too well. In an effort to ease the challenges of parenthood, particularly for new and expecting families, this group of local moms banded together to host a Community Baby Shower and the event proved to be very popular, leading to its return for the third year running.

Tonopah to be home to experimental hypersonic testing facility

Ambitious. It’s an apt word to describe Michael Grace’s vision for the future of his company, Longshot Space Technology Corporation, which, if all goes to plan, will build what he calls the world’s largest potato gun.

Pahrump man arrested for elder abuse

A Pahrump man wanted by the Nye County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of elder abuse was arrested while attempting to purchase multiple vehicles at a Las Vegas car dealership, according to authorities.

Nye sheriff explains why you shouldn’t flee from the law

A man suspected of driving a stolen vehicle out of Las Vegas led Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies on a high-speed pursuit into Pahrump on Monday morning, April 15.

Amargosa veterans honored with their own Quilts of Valor ceremony

The Nye County Valor Quilters are on a mission — to cover local veterans in the comfort of healing Quilts of Valor to honor the service and sacrifices they’ve made in the name of freedom – and now, these talented artists have started to expand their reach outside of the Pahrump Valley.

Vehicle in garage destroyed by fire

No serious injuries were reported after fire gutted a vehicle inside the garage of a home along the 2400 block of Zuni Avenue on Wednesday, April 10.