Brandon Rhode, Ga. Death Row Inmate, Denied Delay in Execution Despite Suicide Try

Brandon Rhode (Georgia Department Of Corrections)
Federal Judge Denies Delay of Execution After Ga. Inmate Attempts Suicide
Brandon Rhode (Georgia Department Of Corrections)

ATLANTA (CBS/AP) A federal judge has refused to block tonight's scheduled execution of a Georgia death row inmate who attempted to commit suicide on Tuesday, the day he was originally to be put to death.

According to court filings, 31-year-old Brandon Joseph Rhode used a razor to slash his elbows and his neck, which caused him to go into traumatic shock. Authorities say Rhodes may have also suffered brain damage as a result of immense blood loss.

Rhode was stabilized after his attempt and he's since been put in a restraining chair to prevent him from pulling out the sutures on his neck or doing any other harm to himself, a state attorney said.

Rhode's execution had already been rescheduled to 9:00 a.m. Friday after his suicide attempt, but the state moved his execution back 10 hours to 7:00 p.m. Friday, to allow for several appeals to work their way through the system, says corrections spokeswoman Sharmelle Brooks.

Rhode was convicted in 2000 of the killings of Steven Moss, 37, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin during a 1998 burglary of their Jones County home. His co-conspirator, Daniel Lucas, was also sentenced to death in a separate trial and is on death row.

Rhode's attorney, Brian Kammer, filed an emergency motion in state and federal court arguing that the attempted suicide proves Rhode was mentally incompetent and executing him violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

However, U.S. District Judge William Duffey rejected the request to postpone Rhode's execution.

Duffey claimed it was "very troubling" that Rhode was able to attempt suicide, but he said attorneys don't need more time to probe what happened. Instead, he ordered prison officials to assign two guards to monitor Rhode and take other precautions ahead of tonight's scheduled execution by lethal injection.