Jury released for weekend at Terry Thompson's retrial

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Attorneys for both the state and the defense made their closing arguments Friday at the retrial of Terry Thompson, but the jury wasn't able to agree on a verdict so they went home for the weekend and will pick up deliberations on Monday.

Thompson and his wife, Chauna, a former Harris County deputy, are each charged with murder in the May 28, 2017, death of John Hernandez after a confrontation outside Denny’s restaurant on Crosby Freeway in northeast Houston.

Terry Thompson’s first trial ended in a mistrial after 11 of 12 jurors decided he was not guilty of murder. Ten decided he was also not guilty of the lesser manslaughter charge. Eight jurors decided Thompson was not even guilty of the lowest possible charge -- criminally negligent homicide.

Terry Thompson is accused of putting Hernandez in a chokehold, while Chauna Thompson is accused of holding Hernandez down.

TIMELINE: John Hernandez death case

"He's a mean drunk. He's a loudmouth. He's an ass. Those are her words. Not mine,” said defense attorney Scot Courtney, who used the words of Hernandez’s wife to describe Hernandez.

Courtney said there were some things the jury did not see and some witnesses who were not called to the stand. 

"Why would the state not bring all of the evidence available to a jury? There's just one answer to that. Because they knew that a jury would find that they had proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt," Courtney said.

"I want you to listen to John gasping for air,” said Prosecutor John Jordan. 

Jordan played the now-famous cellphone video of Thompson on top of Hernandez outside the restaurant. He said this case amounts to murder captured on video. Jordan said it showed Thompson full of anger and Hernandez gasping for air.

"At the moment that 24-year-old John Hernandez, gives up, at the moment 24-year-old John Hernandez taps out, and you continue, it's certainly not self-defense. And it's murder," he said.

After closings ended, the judge gave instructions to the jurors and handed them the case. Jurors deliberated until 7 p.m. Friday, but they did not reached a verdict. They will be back on Monday.

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