Man who hit Gardnerville bank kills himself in prison

A man who threatened Douglas County sheriff's deputies with a crowbar after driving into a Gardnerville bank last summer was found dead early Sunday morning in his cell at Nevada State Prison.

Benny Ray Henry, 42, was found hanging from his upper bunk. He apparently used a belt, prison spokesman Glenn Whorton said.

He left no note and gave no prior indication that he was suicidal, Whorton added.

The death is apparently a suicide, although prison investigators and the Carson City Sheriff's Department are investigating the incident.

Henry was serving a sentence of 16 months to four years for resisting a public officer with a dangerous weapon after driving a truck into El Dorado Savings Bank in Gardnerville on July 24, 1999.

Henry, a Lakewood, Calif., resident, had hoped to get probation for the felony charge, but Douglas District Judge Dave Gamble had refused.

"You don't threaten police officers with a crowbar in Douglas County and get probation," Gamble said at his sentencing. "It (isn't) going to happen, not with a record like yours."

During Henry's sentencing hearing in September, his attorney, Nathan Tod Young, said Henry was in a "methamphetamine psychosis" during the bank incident.

Henry had served several other prison sentences with most of his offenses involving violence and intoxication.

Young said Henry had been unable to get drug treatment since his arrest and urged Gamble to give Henry a chance at probation, with drug treatment as a requirement.

"He's made some effort in more recent years not to be a felon," said Young. "I know that his record does not speak to probation, but I'm hoping you will take an unusual chance" and grant it.

Henry, who said during his arraignment in August that he had been using drugs at the time of the confrontation, had told Gamble he didn't intend to threaten the officers and said probation would give him a chance to pay for the damage to the bank building.

Henry arrived at Nevada State Prison Sept. 30. He was housed in a cell by himself.

Officers found him hanging in his cell at 1:09 a.m. Sunday while conducting a regular inmate count, Whorton said.


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