State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston (File)
AUSTIN (March 26, 2013)—Texas State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, who chairs the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, says a prison informant has reported a death threat against him, but a prison official later said the threat was a scam.
Whitmire said authorities told him that the informant reported a "hit" against him because of complaints about the conditions on death row.
Whitmire said he's taking the threat seriously.
Whitmire said authorities are still tracking down leads on the case.
The threat comes one week after the Colorado corrections department chief was gunned down and the suspected gunman later died in a shootout in Texas.
Later Tuesday, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Inspector General Bruce Toney, the chief investigator for the Texas prison system, said the threat was a scam by an inmate who was hoping to gain some cash and reduced prison time.
Whitmire wasn't in danger, he said.
He said an inmate who in the past has provided some credible information to authorities "made up the story" about killing Whitmire and tried to enlist others to join him so they could get in trouble.
Instead, Toney says the inmate now faces possible new charges of lying to police and at least forfeiture of his existing "good time" credits that could have reduced his sentence.