Asst. US Attorney Commits Suicide

John D. R. Atchison, a Florida Assistant US Attorney, succeeded in his second attempt to commit suicide yesterday. He was being held in a Michigan federal prison on three felony counts, including a charge of crossing state lines with the intent to have sex with a person under the age of twelve — in his case, a fictional five year old girl (I posted about his arrest here).

Atchison, 53, was arrested last month at Detroit Metropolitan Airport after weeks of Internet conversations between the prosecutor and a detective posing as the mother of a 5-year-old girl, authorities have said.

He was carrying presents for the girl, including a doll and hoop earrings, and also had sexual materials, including petroleum jelly.

After his arrest Atchison was placed on suicide watch, but it was lifted at the request of the defense, after Atchison assured a U.S. magistrate he wouldn’t harm himself.

Two days later, Atchison used a sheet in his Sanilac County jail cell to try to hang himself around 4 a.m. Another inmate yelled out to jailers, who kept Atchison from hurting himself, according to Sanilac County Sheriff Virgil Strickler. Atchison was later moved to the Milan prison.

If he was guilty as charged, he was one sick and twisted man. Still, his family and friends are grieving today, and I am sorry for them.

H/T, Natalie in comments to the earlier post

5 Responses to “Asst. US Attorney Commits Suicide”

  1. anna says:

    Certainly sorry for his loved ones and the children he may have harmed. Can’t help but think about the children that he WON’T get to harm. That’s rough stuff.

  2. Roy says:

    I hope he was guilty. He certainly had all the appearances of guilt, including his very death. Based on what I have read about it, I could not have been an impartial juror, having prejudged him guilty and evil. If he was guilty of all the things he stood accused of, he should have just killed himself.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I guess justice has been served. Hard to feel sorry for him, although I guess he did have an illness of sorts. Still.

  4. Karen says:

    First, I would like to send my condolences to the Atchson family, most of us cannot even imagine the horror this must have been to them when added to the horror of what he had done. His suicide is essentially a confession of his guilt.

    In my opinion there is nothing he could have said or done that would make up for what I’m pretty sure he’d already done to other children somewhere. I doubt this was the first instance of it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find out his daughter has been one of his victims (maybe she just got too old).

    As an adult survivor of child molestation, I have little sympathy for this subhuMAN. As a member of the justice system, he would have known what he had to look forward to, years in prison, in isolation, because even hardened criminals have standards. They would have had no forgiveness for him either.

  5. Kathy says:

    Karen, I hope his daughter wasn’t a victim, but I agree with you that he’d likely done something similar in the past. It’s not likely that he suddenly decided out of the blue that having sex with a five-year-old would be an interesting new experience.

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