A murderer who’s awaited execution in Tennessee for more than 30 years did the unthinkable to his own body after prison staff denied his request to be placed on suicide watch in the facility’s infirmary.
Henry Eugene Hodges, 56, on death row at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, used a hidden razor to sever his penis from his body, said Kelley Henry, his attorney, according to The Associated Press. He had opened his wrists with a blade shortly before severing his genitals, the AP reported.
Kelly said her client has “a diagnosis of bipolar disorder mixed type with psychotic episodes,” according to the news service. She added that he’s taken medication for the psychosis in the past but had reportedly stopped.
The situation began after Hodges was denied a special food package offered to prisoners after a certain length of time exhibiting “clear” behavior, according to Fox News. Hodges only had five months, while receiving the package required six months. The dispute escalated quickly.
Hodges protested by spreading feces on the walls of his prison cell, Henry told Fox. Guards failed to stop him from committing the act and eventually decided to withhold food from the prisoner until he stopped misbehaving, she said.
Hodges eventually cut open his wrists and was immediately taken to the infirmary, where one of the “high-ranking” prison guards claimed Hodges was manipulating the attending physician to get his way, Henry told Fox. The guard said Hodges could be taken back to his cell and placed on suicide watch there.
Henry Eugene Hodges: Death row rapist and murderer cuts off penis after being denied food package https://t.co/IxHzmmRQ2M
— Roxxs Fisher (@RoxxsFisher) October 30, 2022
He was eventually returned to his cell, which contained glass shards from a broken window as well as hidden razor blades Hodges used to mutilate himself, according to the AP.
“He used that to completely sever his penis,” Henry told AP. She said the entire incident unfolded in about two hours.
Surgeons at Vanderbilt University Medical Center reattached his severed appendage successfully, according to the AP. Hodges spent several weeks in the hospital recovering from the surgery before eventually being transported back to prison, which led to a new drama regarding the methods and types of restraints used on him post-operation, the AP reported.
“He needs competent mental health care,” Henry told the AP. “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.”
The motion filed Friday in Nashville’s Davidson County Chancery Court asks the judge to declare that the prison’s treatment of Henry Hodges violate his constitutional rights. https://t.co/nqTFudKJ3Z
— KCBD NewsChannel11 (@KCBD11) October 28, 2022
Henry used the courts to intervene on her client’s behalf, which according to The Tennessean, resulted in a Nashville judge ordering the reevaluation of Hodges’ care after guards kept him in restraints for eight continuous days.
On Friday, Davidson County Chancellor I’Aesha L. Myles ruled that Hodges receive better care after Henry argued that his medical treatment was so bad that it amounted to torture.
“Yes, I am second guessing the physicians,” Henry told the judge and courtroom Friday. “More than that, I’m alleging that the physicians are providing unconstitutional care to my client.”
The state contested Henry’s claims, arguing that his medical care in prison was adequate.
Police arrested Hodges in 1990 for the murder of Ronald Bassett, a telephone repairman. According to the Law and Crime website, citing court records, Hodges, who was 24 at the time, “on occasion engaged in homosexual prostitution.”
He propositioned Bassett as “part of a plan to rob and kill him,” Law and Crime reported. Hodges’ then-15-year-old girlfriend assisted him, according to the report.
He was also convicted of killing a chemical engineer from North Carolina in Fulton, Georgia, shortly after a jury convicted him of Bassett’s murder.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.