Harris County, TX — Terry Thompson, a 41-year-old Harris County man choked another man to death at a local Denny’s Sunday night. The dramatic footage of the fight emerged this week which prompted a heavy backlash by people wanting to know why the couple was not charged. However, it appears that all this has now changed as just moments ago, a Texas grand jury indicted both the sheriff’s deputy and her husband on murder charges for the death of John Hernandez.
BREAKING: Texas grand jury indicts sheriff's deputy and her husband on murder charges in man's Houston-area death.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 8, 2017
A grand jury has indicted Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry, for murder in the deadly fight at Denny’s.
“We believe that this grand jury true bill is a reflection of our community’s belief that a crime occurred,” Harris County DA Kim Ogg said. “And that crime was murder and it was participated by Terry Thompson and his wife Deputy Chauna Thompson.”
LIVE: Sky 2 is over the #JusticeforJohn protest in east Houston.
— KPRC 2 Houston (@KPRC2) June 7, 2017
“The video to me is almost by itself enough. You see a person on the ground who is completely immobilized and grunting and moaning. And you see a big guy on top of him choking him and he dies of that choking,” said Hernandez family attorney Randall Kallinen.
The couple is now facing five years to life for their role in Hernandez’ death.
Hernandez, 24, was drunk when he went to the restaurant Sunday night, his family told reporters. From the surveillance video, a wobbly Hernandez can be seen entering the restaurant. He sat down but got up to leave the establishment, over the objections of his wife who pleaded for him to stay.
The drunken man then reportedly relieved himself outside the front entrance, apparently in front of the deputy and her husband. Taking umbrage with the grown man peeing in the parking lot, the deputy’s husband confronted Hernandez about his actions.
According to the Thompson, he claims the drunken Hernandez struck him and started a fight which ended when the deputy’s husband reportedly choked the man unconscious. The off-duty deputy helped restrain Hernandez and noticed he wasn’t breathing.
She started CPR and waited for paramedics to arrive. After on-duty police arrived, surprisingly, the deputy’s husband was not charged with assault, involuntary manslaughter, manslaughter, or even murder.
Hernandez was transported to the hospital by ambulance, was placed into intensive care, but was taken off of life support. He later died.
Following Hernandez’ death, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez asked for the Texas Rangers and the Department of Justice to become involved in the investigation.
From the video, the large man in a red tank top (deputy’s husband) can be seen seemingly choking Hernandez to the point which led to his demise. Bystanders, apparently realizing what was taking place, attempted to step in front of the camera as the man can be seen rendering Hernandez incapacitated.
Thompson can be heard telling Hernandez, “Do you want me to hit you again?” Panic can be heard in the young lady’s voice standing nearby when she notices someone is recording the incident.
— Untimely Demise (@thatmurderbook) June 7, 2017
Thompson does not appear to be attempting to kill Hernandez, only subdue him, but his weight, combined with the choke, likely contributed to Hernandez fatal injuries.
One man, dressed in what appears to be biker attire, threatened the person recording the attack with going to jail and continued to step in front of the camera.
No one, in the 52-second video, can be seen attempting to break up the fight, appearing to be more concerned with the fact someone was recording the encounter than fearful someone may be dying beneath Thompson’s weight.
The video was presented to the Hernandez family’s attorney who is now demanding answers and accountability. It appears, for now, that they may see some.
“This clearly showed Terry Thompson choking and eventually killing John Hernandez,” said Kallinen.
— Kevin Quinn (@imkevinquinn) June 5, 2017
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