Thaddeus Odom, right, is accused of killing James Hodge at the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute in April 2012.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
A mental health patient accused of beating another patient to death inside the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute has been charged and will now be sent back to the very same mental health institute.
Metro police said after 2 a.m. on April 19, Thaddeus Odom, 60, and James M. Hodge, 53, got into a fight and were put in separate rooms, but kept on the same floor of the building.
Four hours later, police said Odom saw Hodge leave his room, followed him into a dayroom and attacked him, beating Hodge to death. Police said staff was nearby and rushed to Hodge's aid.
Hodge suffered severe head injuries and was transported to Summit Medical Center, where he died during surgery that afternoon.
Odom's bond is set at $250,000, and police said he will be transported back to the Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute.
The Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute has been the subject in a series of previous I-Team investigations. Even though police said it appeared Odom killed his fellow patient James Hodge while staff was nearby, Odom's family wonders if more could have been done to prevent the death.
"Thaddeus is not a violent person," Joseph Odom, Thaddeus Odom's brother said.
Odom's family questions why, after their first fight, the staff didn't move them to different floors and kept the two in such close contact that Thaddeus Odom could see Hodge walk away from his room.
"Instead of monitoring them, keep up with what's going on, they just left it alone," Joseph Odom said.
And it is the time when it happened that concerns the Odom Family too - between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
The same shift where the I-Team uncovered photographs of some staff sleeping, and when patient Cody Skelton was left alone long enough to take his own life.
Joseph Odom said two deaths in a state facility in seven months is too much.
"They failed to take care of what they needed to take care of to meet the patient's needs," Joseph Odom said.
Two employees were cited in May for sleeping on the job instead of watching patients whom they were supposed to be constantly watching.
Another disciplinary record showed a psychiatric technician was found asleep outside a patient's room and the patient's room was unlocked.
"The fact that you've uncovered the instances, would say there's a problem," said Roger Stewart, deputy director of the National Association on Mental Illness.
Stewart said everything the Channel 4 I-Team has exposed shows the state is punishing employees, but does not appear to be doing enough to prevent problems.
"What we want to see is a concentration on prevention rather than discipline," Stewart said.
A revamped copy of the institute's management of patients at risk indicates the state is trying to prevent future patients from injuring other patients.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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