Widow wants answers after husband's death in Texas state prison

Joshua Ben Denn died on Christmas Day at Lopez State Jail

SAN ANTONIO – The widow of a San Antonio man who died while in prison at the Lopez State Jail, in Edinberg, is asking prison officials for more information concerning her husband’s death on Christmas Day.

“I just want answers, I just want to know,” said Stephanie Denn. “Just tell me.”

Her husband, Joshua Ben Denn, 27, was in prison after receiving a four-year sentence for violating his parole, she said.  He was scheduled to be released in April.

Denn said that she received a phone call from Texas Department of Corrections officials at the Lopez State Jail on Christmas evening.

“They said, ‘Sorry to inform you but your husband has passed away,’” Denn said.  “And after that I don’t remember anything, I just fell to the ground.”

Denn said prison officials told her in a subsequent call that her husband had died from natural causes and that an autopsy was being performed in an effort to determine the exact cause of his death.

The widow said she is suspicious.

“Just tell me what happened,” she said. “If you didn’t give him whatever when he was sick, if he couldn’t breathe, if you didn’t care just tell me.”

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.