Death row inmate asks to be put on suicide watch, chops off penis

Death row inmate asks to be put on suicide watch, chops off penis

An unhinged Tennessee death row inmate used a hidden razor to lop off his penis after slitting his wrists and asking to be put on suicide watch, his lawyer said.

Henry Eugene Hodges — on death row for the 1990 murder of a telephone repairman — had the blood-soaked meltdown earlier this month over a food package.

Prison staff refused to let him have the special package because he was one month shy of a required six months of clear conduct, his lawyer Kelley Henry told the Associated Press.

To stop him from smearing feces around his cell, a correction officer decided to stop feeding him – leading Hodges to slit his wrists with the hidden razor at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, she said.

1990 mugshot of Henry Eugene Hodges
The 1990 mugshot of Henry Eugene Hodges, who is on death row for the murder of a telephone repairman.
Tennessee Dept. of Corrections

Hodges than asked to be put on suicide watch at the infirmary, the lawyer said.

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

After his penis was reattached at a hospital, Hodges was sent back to the slammer, where he’s been restrained and confined to a thin mattress on a concrete block, she said. Though initially placed in four-point restraints, he was able to remove a hand and rip out his catheter, so he was put in six-point restraints, Henry told the AP.

He finally agreed to take medication and was returned to the four-point restraints, but hasn’t been allowed to walk or leave the bed, Henry added.

Hodges 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,” she told the news service.

Hodges also has been on a hunger strike, she said.

Henry said she was told she needs to speak to General Counsel Debbie Inglis, who’s been out on leave.

There was no immediate comment to the AP from a rep for the Tennessee Department of Correction.

Hodges was sentenced to death in 1992 for murdering phone repairman Ronald Bassett in May 1990.   

He was convicted of a separate murder in Fulton County, Ga., for killing a North Carolina chemical engineer in an Atlanta hotel.