On Tuesday, news broke that a Putnam City North High School teacher's assistant and coach was accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student. The following day, he was dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot.
An Oklahoma County District Judge ordered a warrant for the arrest of Leo Edmiral Mackie, 43, on Tuesday after a student at Project HOPE and Francis Tuttle Technology Center told police that she had been involved in a consensual sexual relationship with the man from late October through December of last year.
Mackie was working for the high school as a teacher's assistant for 9th graders with special needs and as the head sophomore boys' basketball coach.
The girl says that she met Mackie around Halloween, and that the two had sex at Lake Hefner roughly ten times between Halloween and New Year's Eve.
Although Oklahoma's age of consent is 16, and although the girl was a student at Francis Tuttle and not at Putnam City North, the Project HOPE program and the girl's enrollment at Francis Tuttle are a part of the Putnam City school district's curriculum and oversight. Under Oklahoma law, no student under the age of 20 has the legal capacity to consent to sexual intercourse with any employee aged 18 or older of the same district the student attends. Therefore, Mackie was facing charges of second degree rape.
On Wednesday, the day after Mackie's arrest warrant was issued, police arrived at his home. However, they were not there to arrest Mackie, but rather to search for a robbery suspect in an unrelated case. It is doubtful that the sex crime suspect knew why they were there, and he likely assumed they were there to arrest him.
When police arrived, he ran inside the home and refused to come out. After other occupants of the home left, police heard a gunshot and entered to find the man dead of an apparently self-inflicted wound.
The man's death spotlights just how difficult facing sex crime charges can be. He is not the first Oklahoman accused of a sex offense to commit suicide in the face of overwhelming penalties:
- In October 2011, Michael Lyn Conner, 56, an Alva teacher accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a student killed himself as sheriff's deputies came to question him and investigate the allegations
- In March 2015, Sapulpa High School softball coach Brad Alan Evans, 38, killed himself the same day he was charged with second degree rape for having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student
- In June 2015, former Atoka teacher and Tushka police officer Martin Worthington, 59, killed himself after four girls came forward and said that he had touched them inappropriately a decade earlier
Facing allegations of sex crimes can be extremely difficult. However, there are defense options available that can spare a defendant from the harshest consequences. Don't give up. Contact an attorney to discuss sex crime defense strategies that may be successful in your case.
Image credit: Bill and Vicki T