Terry Thompson's retrial begins with opening statements

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor

HOUSTON - Opening statements began Tuesday at the retrial of Terry Thompson.

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

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.

At his first trial, the defense argued that Hernandez was being aggressive and Thompson was defending himself.

On Tuesday, prosecutors told jurors that they will hear from several people connected to videos that were recorded of the encounter.

"'Do you want me to hit you again?'" said the prosecutor. "Those are the words that came from that grown man’s mouth as he strangled the last breath from John Hernandez’s too short life."

VIDEO: Prosecutors deliver their opening statement

After making several objections during the prosecution’s opening statement, the defense opted to reserve its right to make an opening statement.

The judge has allowed the media to livestream only the opening statements and closing arguments of the retrial.

Chauna Thompson’s trial was originally slated to begin last week but has been rescheduled to April 26, 2019.

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