Three TDCJ inmates and one employee have died from COVID-19 at South Plains area prisons


LUBBOCK, Texas — Three Texas Department of Criminal Justice inmates and two TDCJ employees in the South Plains region have died of COVID-19, according to information released by the TDCJ.

Correctional Officer Kenneth Harbin, 60, was assigned to the Daniel Unit in Snyder and had more than 30 years of service in the TDCJ, according to a release. After testing positive for COVID-19, he was treated at Covenant Medical Center from June 28 until July 4, when he died.

“[Harbin] always uplifted those around him and would take time out of his day to make sure you were OK,” Daniel Unit Senior Warden Michael Britt said in a release. “He was a selfless person and gave all he could to those he loved.”

David Martinez, 54, had served five years of an eight-year sentence for Sexual Assault of a Child, according to records. Martinez died on May 8 at the West Texas Hospital in Lubbock after being transferred from the Smith Unit in Lamesa when he tested positive for COVID-19, according to a TDCJ release.

Alvin Ray Spencer, 65, had served nearly 18 years on a 35-year sentence for Indecency with a Child, according to TDCJ. Spencer died June 25 at the West Texas Hospital and had been transferred from the Smith Unit in Lamesa after testing positive for COVID-19 on May 11.

Alfredo De La Vega, 54, had served 20 years of a 20-year sentence for Aggravated Sexual Assault. According to TDCJ, he died at “a local hospital,” on May 5 after being transported from the Montford Unit in Lubbock on April 27.

Overall, as of July 14, 94 offender deaths have been linked to COVID-19 in the state, and there have been nine employee line of duty deaths from the virus, according to the TDCJ.

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