Deputy Chauna Thompson, husband Terry out of jail on bond
Deputy, husband indicted in death of John Hernandez
HOUSTON – A deputy and her husband, both charged with murder, are out of jail Friday after each of them posted bonds of $100,000.
Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband Terry Thompson were indicted Thursday in the death of John Hernandez.
A grand jury handed up an indictment for murder in the case, and Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
The Thompsons turned themselves in hours after the indictments were issued -- just before 10 p.m.
"We believe this grand jury's true bill is a reflection of our community's belief that a crime occurred and that that crime was murder and it was participated in by Terry Thompson and his wife, Deputy Chauna Thompson," Ogg said.
Hernandez died three days after video showed Terry Thompson, the husband of Harris County Deputy Chauna Thompson, using a chokehold to detain Hernandez after a confrontation between the two men.
The charging document claims Terry Thompson, 41, caused Hernandez's death "by placing a strangulating hold on (Hernandez) and maintaining pressure while placing the weigh of the defendant's body on (Hernandez)."
Twelve witnesses, as well as Hernandez's wife, were interviewed by the grand jury. Ogg said both the Thompsons declined to be interviewed.
Gonzalez said while it is difficult to see one of his deputies indicted for murder, he believes all the facts were presented.
"I think that we all worked very hard to try to do what was right and in the end make sure that justice would prevail, and it's still ongoing process, but we support the decision of the grand jury," he said.
Both could face five years to life in prison if convicted.
Deputies said Chauna Thompson, 45, and her husband arrived at the restaurant with their three children on the night of May 28 and saw Hernandez, 24, urinating in the restaurant parking lot. Investigators said Terry Thompson confronted Hernandez about his behavior, and a fight began.
Video shot by a witness showed the deputy and her husband pinning Hernandez to the ground. Terry Thompson appeared to be choking Hernandez with his forearm.
VIDEO: Attorney presents new video of confrontation
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Hernandez was hospitalized after the confrontation. He died three days later after he was removed from life support.
Homicide detectives were not called out the night of the confrontation.
"In hindsight it would have been ideal for us to respond, of course, obviously knowing eventually that Mr. Hernandez did die, his injuries were more severe, but at the end of the day, we're confident that all the information that was needed was gathered," Gonzalez said.
The Harris County medical examiner said an autopsy found that Hernandez died from anoxic encephalopathy, or damage to the brain from lack of oxygen, because of strangulation with chest compression. His death was ruled a homicide.
Gonzalez said Tuesday that Chauna Thompson has been indefinitely reassigned to administrative duty.
The League of United Latin American Citizens District VIII released a statement Thursday saying the organization "is pleased with the grand jury's decision to indict Terry and Chauna Thompson for murder. The League will continue to maintain its engagement in this case as it now proceeds through the legal system."
The Thompsons are expected in court June 13 at 9 a.m.
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