Three More Inmates Die Due to COVID-19, One Denton County Death, TDCJ Says

File photo of a Texas prison.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Three more inmate deaths in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system were linked to COVID-19, TDCJ reported Wednesday.

Stephen Lewis Smith, serving a life sentence from Denton County, died on June 4 with medical evidence suggesting COVID-19 was a contributing factor in his death. Smith had previously tested positive for COVID-19.

Richard Calvin Gipson, 52, and Antonio Fernandez Ayala, 79, both also tested positive for COVID-19 and died with evidence suggesting COVID-19 as a contributing factor.

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Those three deaths raise the number of TDCJ COVID-19 related deaths for inmates up to 72, with an additional 33 under investigation.

To date, 7,611 inmates tested positive out of the 111,752 tested, according to TDCJ data published on Wednesday.

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