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Man seen in photo at violent Charlottesville rally kills self on eve of trial on drug charges

<i>Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images</i><br/>Teddy Joseph Von Nukem
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Teddy Joseph Von Nukem

By Andy Rose, CNN

A man who was photographed marching in the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 killed himself last week, according to a coroner’s report, just as he was scheduled to face trial on federal drug charges.

Teddy Joseph Von Nukem, 35, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on January 30, according to a report from the Texas County Coroner’s Office in Missouri. That is the same day Von Nukem was scheduled to be in court in Arizona, facing four counts relating to illegal import and sale of fentanyl.

Von Nukem was seen in two famous photos of the alt-right rally, wearing a black shirt in a large group of men chanting and holding tiki torches. He confirmed his identity to the Springfield News-Leader newspaper a week after the rally after being identified online by a former classmate. He told the newspaper he did not consider himself a White supremacist or neo-Nazi, but would not “counter-signal against them.”

Von Nukem failed to show up to court on January 30, with the jury in his drug trial already seated, according to documents from federal court for the District of Arizona. Ten days later, prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss the case “as the defendant is deceased.”

He was found dead in a hay shed on his property in Hartshorn, Missouri, having shot himself with a handgun, the coroner’s report said. Suicide notes were found at the scene, the coroner said.

He is survived by his wife and five children, according to an obituary published by a local funeral home. The federal prosecutor in Von Nukem’s drug case, Matthew Eltringham, did not respond to CNN’s request for comment Tuesday afternoon.

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CNN’s Shawn Nottingham contributed to this report.

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