Protesters gather as deputy, her husband head to court in Hernandez chokehold case

By Aaron Barker - Senior Web Editor, Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor

HOUSTON - More than 50 protesters gathered Friday outside a courthouse in downtown Houston as a couple charged in a fatal confrontation outside a Sheldon restaurant nearly two months ago prepared for a hearing.

One of the signs carried by the protesters read, “We eat together. We kill together.”

Harris County sheriff’s Deputy Chauna Thompson, 45, and her husband, Terry Thompson, 41, were charged with murder in the death of John Hernandez, 24.

The Thompsons briefly appeared in court just after 9 a.m. The judge reset the hearing for a later date.

With a tight security detail, the Thompsons made it from the 17th floor of the courthouse and out the back door before KPRC 2 cameras could catch up to them.

Across from the courthouse, Hernandez supporters released balloons and chanted, "Justice for John."

Some supporters said they would be there for every appearance to “see this thing through."

"We're here to support the family in hopes in the future there is a guilty verdict for the Thompsons," said Hernandez’s cousin Susana Santana.

Hernandez died three days after the May 28 confrontation with the Thompsons outside a Denny’s restaurant. Video of the incident appeared to show Terry Thompson using a chokehold and lying on top of Hernandez while Chauna Thompson held down one of Hernandez’s arms.

VIDEO: Attorney presents video of Denny's confrontation

Medical examiners ruled Hernandez’s death a homicide and determined he died from oxygen deprivation due to strangulation and chest compression.

The Thompsons were released from jail on bond.

Chauna Thompson has been indefinitely placed on unpaid administrative leave.

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