Nashville, TN – A death row inmate in Tennessee cut off his own penis with a razor he had hidden in his cell after slitting his wrists and telling correctional staff that he needed to be put on suicide watch.
Henry Eugene Hodges is on death row for the May 1990 murder of a telephone repairman, FOX News reported.
His attorney, federal public defender Kelley Henry, said Hodges got into a disagreement with jail officials earlier this month when they refused to allow him to have a special package of food items that he had ordered, the Associated Press reported.
Henry said the jail wouldn’t let him have the package he had ordered because that was a privilege that he wasn’t eligible for until he had a record of clear conduct inside the prison for six consecutive months.
His attorney said that Hodges only had five months of clear conduct at the time, the Associated Press reported.
The angry death row inmate started smearing feces on the walls and bars of his cell after he wasn’t allowed to have his package.
Henry said a guard decided to stop feeding Hodges until he stopped smearing feces in his cell, the Associated Press reported.
On Oct. 7, Hodges slit his wrists in his cell with a razor he had hidden, according to his attorney.
He was transported to the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution’s infirmary for treatment of his wounds, the Associated Press reported.
Henry said that when he got to the infirmary, Hodges asked to be put on a suicide watch.
The defense attorney told the Associated Press that a “high-ranking correctional officer” told the person who was treating Hodges in the infirmary that the death row prisoner was trying to manipulate them.
The official told the medical personnel that Hodges could be put on a suicide watch back in his own cell, his attorney explained.
Henry said Hodges was taken back to his cell where there was broken glass from a window he’d shattered and more razors that he had hidden before his initial suicide attempt, the Associated Press reported
“He used that to completely sever his penis,” his attorney said.
Henry said that everything – from the suicide attempt to cutting off his penis – happened in about a two-hour period at the maximum-security facility, the Associated Press reported.
Hodges was transported to Vanderbilt University Hospital and surgeons were able to reattach his member.
He remained in the hospital for a few weeks to recover and then was transferred back to prison, the Associated Press reported.
Henry said the death row inmate has been confined to a thin mattress on top of a concrete block and is held down by restraints.
The attorney said prison staff first put Hodges in four-point restraints, but he was able to get a hand free and tore out his catheter, the Associated Press reported.
So, the prison upped the restraints to six points – including restraints on his biceps – to hold him in the bed, according to Hodges’ attorney.
Hodges ultimately agreed to take his medication and he was returned to the four-point restraints; however, Henry said the prisoner has not been allowed to leave the bed or walk since he was brought back to the correctional facility, the Associated Press reported.
The attorney said Hodges suffers from bipolar disorder mixed type with psychotic episodes and has been known not to take his medication.
“He is enduring ongoing psychiatric harm as a result of these conditions,” Henry told the Associated Press.
She said Hodges is also on hunger strike now.
Henry said she has tried to talk to prison officials about the situation but has been told that she needs to deal with General Counsel Debbie Inglis, who is currently out on leave.
A Nashville jury gave Hodges a death sentence in 1992 for the murder of telephone repairman Ronald Bassett two years earlier, the Associated Press reported.
He was sentenced to an additional 40 years behind bars for robbing Bassett when he killed him.
Hodges was also convicted killing of a North Carolina chemical engineer in an Atlanta hotel not long after he killed the telephone repairman, the Associated Press reported.