Man serving life sentence dies of COVID-19

MGN Online

A Cameron County man serving a life sentence for murder is the latest COVID-19-related inmate death reported by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Danilo Garza, 65, died May 4 at Hospital Galveston. He served 31 years of a life sentence out of Cameron County, TDCJ wrote in an update on Tuesday.

The department stated there were in total 482 TDCJ employees, staff or contractors and 1,299 offenders who have tested positive for the virus. There were 66 employees and 372 offenders who had recovered, according to the statement.

Garza was tested for COVID-19 on April 20 and received a positive result. He was transported from the Eastham Unit on April 28 to Hospital Galveston after his condition worsened. “Garza’s family declined an autopsy but COVID-19 is likely a cause of death,” TDCJ stated.

“ There are an additional 14 deaths that are under investigation and pending preliminary autopsy results. Three other deaths that had been under investigation have been determined to be non-COVID-19 related after the return of preliminary autopsy reports.”

TDCJ had 20,510 offenders on medical restriction because of possible contact with an employee or offender with a positive or pending COVID-19 test, according to the department. 48,674 offenders were in facilities on precautionary lockdown.

Garza was arrested in October 1988 at his workplace after a 25-year-old woman told police he killed her boyfriend, Horacio Gonzalez, in Harlingen, Texas that September, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel archives.