Authorities say a former California teacher slit his own throat in court this week after being found guilty of raping a teenage female relative

By Jeff Truesdell
October 21, 2016 11:00 AM

A former California teacher convicted Wednesday of raping a female relative when she was 13 responded to the jury’s verdict on his crime by producing a razor and slitting his throat in court, PEOPLE confirms.

Jeffrey Scott Jones, 56, remained in the hospital with non life-threatening injuries as of Thursday afternoon, according to Orange County Sheriff’s Lt. Mark Stichter. He was taken away bleeding and in handcuffs from the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana, California.

Jones, of Huntington Beach, California, was an out-of-custody defendant who had been free since posting $1 million bail on July 25, 2013.

He now faces 68 years to life when he is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 4.

Confirming that authorities believe Jones used a razor blade, Stichter tells PEOPLE: “We don’t know if that is something he brought in off the street or if that is something he located once he got into the courthouse. We’re trying to determine that.”

He adds, “The deputies, obviously being all there in the courtroom, were able to render first aid to him.”

At the time of his self-inflicted injury, Jones had just learned of the jury’s verdict convicting him of two felony counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one felony count of continuous sexual behavior, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

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Courtesy Orange County District Attorney’s Office
| Credit: Courtesy Orange County District Attorney's Office

The repeated sexual assault occurred between Sept. 1, 2012, and April 30, 2013, authorities say. On May 4 and May 9, 2013, “Jones raped the victim,” according to the district attorney’s statement, “stating that he would ruin her life if she told anyone what he was doing.

“The victim went to a friend’s home, and the defendant went to get her. The friend’s mother refused to allow the defendant to take [the victim],” who was identified as Jane Doe.

Jones had pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney, Edward Welbourn, was not immediately available to speak with PEOPLE.

When he was arrested on June 27, 2013, Jones was teaching advanced placement English in Huntington Park, California. He had been a teacher for 27 years, authorities said. He was fired in March 2014.

The victim was not one of his students, says Susan Kang Schroeder, the district attorney’s chief of staff.

But when the victim tried to defend Jones during the trial, Schroeder tells PEOPLE that the prosecution introduced evidence showing that Jones had sex with two minor former students — “and that’s not the type of person we ever want as a teacher.”

“This is a case where you’ve got an extremely vulnerable victim who was abused by the defendant, who was in a position of trust with the victim,” Schroeder tells PEOPLE.

“Your heart just breaks for this little girl,” she says. “She was betrayed by everybody that should have been there to protect her. This is a tragic, horrible, injurious assault on a 13-year-old girl.”

Schroeder says the victim was not in the courtroom when Jones cut himself.

In a statement, the court said it will be reviewing the incident and its weapons screening “to determine how the blade entered the building, and to determine if modifications need to be made in the screening process.”