A Texas prisoner’s death, ruled a homicide from medical neglect of injuries he suffered in a scuffle with guards last year, has prompted a state senator to call for investigations into the death and an examination of the quality of health care for all Texas inmates, reports the Houston Chronicle. Larry Cox, 48, died last February, two weeks after a confrontation with guards left him with two broken vertebrae that went undetected for weeks. No one was prosecuted or punished over the incident.
The dead man’s brother wrote to Sen. Sen. John Whitmire, who scheduled a Jan. 24 hearing of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee to examine protocols for prisoners’ health care, the process of examining in-custody deaths, and whether a chronic shortage of prison guards creates circumstances ripe for such incidents. He was incarcerated in Huntsville’s Estelle Unit when two guards, clearing an area for fumigation, approached Cox’s cell. Cox refused to leave. He kicked one of the guards, prompting the other and a sergeant to restrain him. Cox, whose hands were behind his back, fell during the struggle and struck his face on the edge of a metal bunk and a metal foot locker beneath it.