SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 52-year-old man jumped to his death from a Southern California courthouse balcony hours after being convicted of child molestation, authorities said.
Carlos Edward Tello was facing more than 20 years in prison when he jumped from a ninth-floor balcony of the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana Tuesday afternoon. A suicide note was tucked into his clothing, authorities said.
A jury in a Fullerton courtroom earlier Tuesday convicted Tello of repeatedly molesting a young girl between 1989 and 1994.
Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown tried to have Tello's bail revoked and have him taken into custody immediately after the verdicts were announced. She said he was carrying a suicide note when he was arrested in 2006 in the case and that he might be in danger.
Superior Court Judge Greggory Prickett declined to revoke Tello's bail, instead ordering him to return to the Fullerton courtroom by 4:30 p.m.
Just after 4 p.m. at the Santa Ana courthouse, an alarm sounded that someone had entered a restricted area, said Orange County Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino.
A bailiff found Tello standing on the balcony and tried to wrestle him away from the edge, said police Cpl. Jose Gonzalez.
"He said, 'Nobody's stopping me,"' Amormino said, "and he jumped."
Tello died at the scene.