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Friday, January 9, 2009

Texas death row inmate tears out own eye, eats it

DALLAS (Reuters) - A death row inmate in Texas tore out his eyeball with his fingers and ate it, leaving him blind after he gouged out his other eye several years ago, the state's department of criminal justice said on Friday.

"We don't know how it happened," said Jason Clark, a spokesman for the department. "There are no indications that he used anything other than his hands."

Andre Thomas, 25, was now in a secure psychiatric facility after he pulled out his left eye last month at the death row unit in Livingston in eastern Texas, Clark said.

Thomas was condemned for killing his wife, son and infant stepdaughter in 2004, according to the department's brief account of the case. Local media reports said he had ripped out the hearts of his victims.

Thomas was on death row since March 2005 but did not have an execution date. There are 373 inmates on death row in Texas, the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center says.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard, editing by John O'Callaghan)

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