Man who killed himself in Fargo courtroom faced minimum of 7 years

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Federal authorities say a man who killed himself inside a federal courthouse in North Dakota was convicted for brandishing a weapon at a minor and faced a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison with a maximum term of life.

According to court records, Jeffrey Sahl Ferris, of Belcourt, drove a Jeep toward several children and almost hit them in April of 2020 on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation. He also brandished a gun at one of them.

He was found guilty on Monday of terrorizing, reckless endangerment and use of a firearm in relation to a felony crime of violence.

Jurors had just departed the Fargo courtroom when Ferris, 55, slashed his throat with what an FBI spokesman called “an easily concealable instrument” and died after U.S. marshals and other court personnel attempted life-saving measures.

Federal sentencing guidelines would have helped determined the sentence for Ferris.

He is not an enrolled member of the tribe.

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