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Death row inmate Hodges cut off his penis for denied suicide watch request

Death row inmate denied suicide watch request by prison, so he uses razor to cut off his own penis

A death row inmate in Tennessee asked to be put on suicide watch, but his request was denied. This denial prompted the man to use a hidden razor and chop off his penis after previously using the same hidden razor to slit wrists, officials said.

According to officials, Henry Eugene Hodges, on death row for the 1990 murder of a telephone repairman, had the meltdown earlier this month over a food package, the New York Post reported. Apparently prison staff refused to let him have the special food package because he was one month shy of a required six months of clear conduct, his lawyer Kelley Henry told the Associated Press.

Hodges was smearing his own feces around his cell, so a correction officer decided to stop feeding him in an attempt to get him to stop. This led Hodges to slit his wrists with the hidden razor at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Henry said. After this happened, he asked to be put on suicide watch at the infirmary.

According to Henry, a “high-ranking” officer told the person treating Hodges that he was manipulating them and he could be placed on suicide watch when he was back in his cell, which is where he would later cut off his penis.

Doctors were able to reattach his penis at a hospital, so then Hodges was sent back to his cell, where he has been restrained and confined to a thin mattress on a concrete block, Henry said. Officers first put Hodges in four-point restraints, but he was able to remove a hand and rip out his catheter, which prompted officers to place him in six-point restraints.

Hodges did agree to take medication, which he was then returned to the four-point restraints. However, he hasn’t been allowed to walk or leave the bed, Henry stated. 

He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder mixed type, with psychotic episodes. Henry said, “He needs competent mental health care. Surely the prison can find a place to put him where he is not a danger to himself or others and does not have to be tied down like an animal.”

Hodges was sentenced to death in 1992 for murdering phone repairman Ronald Bassett in May 1990, officials said. He was also convicted of a separate murder in Fulton County, Ga., for killing a North Carolina chemical engineer in an Atlanta hotel.

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