PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW)– A defendant killed himself outside the Lake County Courthouse just before the verdict was read in a double homicide Friday afternoon.
Lake County Sheriff Frank Leonbruno says 28-year-old Blake Sargi was out on bond and learned the jury had reached a verdict around 3 p.m.
“He arrived with his parents in the parking lot, they came into the building, they became concerned when he didn’t follow them in, so they alerted deputies who came outside and found that he had shot himself,” said Leonbruno.
Sargi’s body was located near the rear parking lot.
The jury was immediately sequestered and mental health professionals were brought to the courthouse.
Sargi was accused of killing Heavenly Goddess Murphy-Jackson, 38, and William Larondez Jackson Jr., 39.
On the night of Jan. 6, 2020, Sargi’s stepmother called 911 to report he shot and killed two people. The victims were found in a parked car on Andrea Drive in Concord Township. They both suffered gunshot wounds to the head.
Murphy-Jackson and Jackson were the parents to six children.
Family members at the time told FOX 8 that they felt Sargi had “executed” their loved ones.
“You shot them in the back of their head so the reason they were out there is irrelevant,” said Antoinette Brown-Johnson, Williams sister.
However, the defense argued Sargi acted in self defense and felt the jury was leaning in their favor because they had inquired about “the lesser counts” during deliberations.
“When you look at the texts leading up to this, it seemed clear the two people were drug dealers and they were coming to rob him,” said Attorney Angelo Lonardo, “He was hysterical and said it was either them or me.”
Lonardo says Sargi realized he had put himself in that situation and seemed ready to accept the jury’s decision.
“No one saw this coming,” said Lonardo. “The jury in leaving the courtroom were crying when they heard what happened.”
Sheriff Leonbruno says the apparent suicide is under investigation by both Lake County detectives and the coroner’s office.
There are also many questions remaining as where he got the gun and why Sargi was out on a $10 million bond.
“All I can say is what was echoed in that courtroom, that this was an absolute tragedy,” said Lonardo.