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Serial killer's hospitalization angers families of victims

Serial killer Paul Dennis Reid, Jr. is in the hospital, and the survivors of his Tennessee crimes are furious.

A murder victim's father, Mike Grecu, who resides out of state, attempted to find out why Reid was hospitalized and if he was in critical condition. After getting no answers, Grecu called the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the Tennessee Attorney General's office. "I told them what I thought of not being able to get information on Reid being in the hospital. They said they understood but it was out of their hands." Grecu's daughter, Angela "Angie" Holmes, was killed by Reid in April of 1997 after being abducted from her work at a Clarksville Baskin-Robbins.

Paul Reid was admitted to the Nashville General Hospital at Meharry last week with a severe bout of pneumonia. He was placed in an induced coma in order to assist the healing process. Four corrections officers are placed in the room with him at all times.

Because of HIPAA laws, information on Reid could not be released to the survivors of his crimes. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, "The Privacy Rule protects all 'individually identifiable health information' held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. The Privacy Rule calls this information 'protected health information.'"

The Privacy Rule 'Individually identifiable health information' is information, including demographic data, that relates to:

  • the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,
  • the provision of health care to the individual, or
  • the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,

and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual. Individually identifiable health information includes many common identifiers (e.g., name, address, birth date, Social Security Number)." (source)

"They didn't have any problems disclosing what happened to my daughter when she was brutally murdered," Grecu says. "They're making Reid the victim. My daughter had no rights when she was killed. It seems I have no rights. I have a right to know where the son of a bitch is. Anything that happens to him I should know where he is. He killed seven innocent people, but he has all these rights. I have none. I understand (the HIPAA) position but the laws are drastically wrong." Grecu feels as if "no one cares about my daughter." Dennis Reid is currently on death row and is serving seven death sentences. "We're wasting all this money keeping him alive," Grecu says angrily. Angie Holmes was an Honor Roll student who was attending Austin Pea University, had just been admitted into a prestigious surgical nursing program, was in the ROTC, and was working a full time manager job at Baskin Robbins when Reid abducted her. He cut her throat, and threw her into the water to die at Dunbar Cave Park in Clarksville. That same night, Reid abducted and murdered Holmes' coworker, teenager Michelle Mace. Mace was found in the woods near Angie's body; she had been stabbed multiple times with her throat cut.

Connie Black is Michelle Mace's mother and does not understand why the survivors of Reid's 1997 crime spree were not notified of Reid's hospitalization. "I called the DA Office in Clarksville and they could not release information," she explains. Black called the Department of Correction's Victim's Services Unit. She contacted the local media. "No one could tell me much of anything," Black sighs. "I was told he had respiratory failure which sounded like he was going to die. I just wanted to know where he was. I was told (officials) could only tell us if the inmate is moved, has a custody change, or if the inmate has died." Black, and other survivors, believed Reid was on his deathbed. " A lot of us have different emotions and hearing it from the media is not acceptable. We have a right to brace ourselves for his death, to prepare." She does not want to turn on the local news and hear Reid is dead, has escaped, or is in a hospital "where other people are. We don't know if he is secured. We don't want others to live through what we are experiencing." Many survivors feel there will only be closure with Reid's death.

In 1997, Reid robbed three fast food restaurants. In two robberies, he forced the victims to lie on the floors and he shot them execution style, killing all victims and leaving one for dead, who later testified against him. In the Clarksville robbery, he drove the two victims to Dunbar Cave Park where he murdered them. Hair, fiber, a partial latent print, and blood evidence connected Reid to the crimes. He has continued to deny his role in the crimes and has held press conferences since his conviction. He has filed numerous appeals to avoid the death penalty. According to a source who was an officer on death row when Reid was admitted, "(Reid) bragged about what he did to those girls. He told everybody."

"I don't want to know personal information about his condition," Connie Black says with a tremor in her voice. "But I feel we have a right to know when he is moved from prison." She hesitates. "All of us parents need some kind of closure. he was the last person to see our children alive."

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