HOUSTON – Music, cotton candy, face painting and even a spin-the-wheel game: This was the scene at a Denny's in east Houston at a fundraiser for the daughter of John Hernandez.
Hernandez died at the restaurant in May 2017 after an altercation with a couple who are now charged with his murder.
"We want to give them some time to heal," said Ashley Alam, the restaurant's director of operations, "but help them through that healing process."
For five hours, 20 percent of the restaurant's sales went to Hernandez's daughter's college fund.
The festive atmosphere in the packed establishment was in stark contrast to the scene when Hernandez died there nearly eight months ago.
Terry and Chauna Thompson are charged with murder after Terry Thompson held Hernandez down after he allegedly noticed the 24-year-old urinating in public. Hernandez died of strangulation with chest compression, according to authorities.
Chauna Thompson -- a former Harris County Sheriff's deputy -- watched and yelled at Hernandez to "stay down."
The Hernandez family was grateful for Monday's show of support, but admit the past few months have been hard.
"The most difficult part is knowing that he's not here," John's father Ignacio said. "The parties, the Christmases. Stuff like that. It's hard."
Family members said they are waiting for the scheduled court dates for Terry and Chauna.
"We're still waiting for justice to be served. We're not going to give up," relative Karynna Hernandez said. "We're going to fight until the end until we get justice served."
Terry's trial is scheduled to begin May 18. Chauna is set for trial June 1.