Only minutes after a Montgomery County jury found Mark Ward Faville guilty of voluntarily killing his wife March 7, 2000, the man was found dead in a courthouse holding room. Investigators say that he apparently committed suicide but the weapon of choice remains unknown.
After reading the jury’s verdict, Judge Brett Geisler proposed a recess before sentencing. As a result, two deputies escorted Mr. Faville to a holding room. Minutes later the man was dead.
Witnesses said that they only heard a deputy yelling “drop it, drop it!” shortly before the whole floor of the courtroom was evacuated. On that day, the courthouse also ceased any activities until 5 p.m.
Officials disclosed that the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators from the Christiansburg Police Department reported that he may have died from a self-inflicted wound.
However, no one knows how exactly Mr. Faville died since courtroom deputies that escort defendants do no carry any weapon for fear that their escortees may attempt to grab it.
According to other sources, the man didn’t die of a gunshot.
Also, it is a mystery how Mr. Faville managed to bring into the courthouse a lethal weapon since security is very tight there. County sheriff’s deputies patrol the place on a daily basis, while the entrance security-checks are very strict. No phones are allowed, visitors must pass through a metal detector, while all their assets must be scanned by an X-ray machine.
Mark Ward Faville, 72, was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter after a week of testimonies from dozens of witnesses. In Virginia, such felony implies up to 10 years in prison.
The man was on bond since 2013.
The verdict was pronounced Friday by 12 jurors. Although they heard hours of testimony, Ward Faville didn’t say a word. Even his two daughters testified against him.
His wife Anne Faville, who was 52 when she died, was found dead in her home in 2000. Two autopsies were performed. The first one concluded that she died from chocking on a piece of food. That autopsy report was filed by Dr. William Massello, who no longer works in Virginia.
Dr. Amy Tharp, who conducted the second autopsy 12 years later upon a local police’s request, wrote in her report that Ms. Faville was actually strangled.
Prosecution seemed very upset Friday while they were delivering their closing conclusions. They said that not only a person died in the evening of March 7, 2000, but also a family did and all its cherished memories.
Jimmy Turk, one of Mr. Faville’s attorneys, was still puzzled that two distinct experts reached conflicting conclusions. But the hardest evidence against Mr. Faville was his suspicious notes, which were discovered by the police a year later from his wife’s death.
“Time is running out. After tox report, they will have all they are waiting on. They will come to get me,”
wrote the man in one of those notes.
Yet, his attorneys argued that although the writings were puzzling they didn’t necessarily demonstrated their client’s involvement in a murder case. However, when the verdict was read some family members and friends cried and looked relieved.
Image Source: Roanoke