Trial of ex-deputy's husband set to begin Friday in John Hernandez death case

By Lea Wilson - Digital News Editor, Phil Archer - Reporter, Cathy Hernandez - Reporter

HOUSTON - The trial for the husband of a former Harris County deputy is set to begin Friday.

Jury selection is expected to start Friday morning in the trial for Terry Thompson. The judge and attorneys were vetting 120 potential jurors.

Terry and his wife, Chauna Thompson, are charged with murder in the death of John Hernandez after an altercation at a Denny’s in Crosby last May. 

Hernandez allegedly swung at Terry Thompson, who then held him in a chokehold while Chauna Thompson helped hold him down.

Hernandez died a few days later. 

TIMELINE of events in John Hernandez death

Hernandez was originally charged with assault after the fight, but the Thompsons were later charged with murder after a bystander’s video of the fight surfaced and went viral.

Please note this video may contain images and language that some people find unsuitable.

VIDEO: Deputy's husband uses chokehold on man during confrontation

In April, a judge denied the Thompsons' request for a change of venue.

The Thompsons said they couldn't get a fair trial in Harris County because of extensive pretrial publicity that followed the death of Hernandez. 

Judge Kelli Johnson, of the 178th District Court, said based on the previous hearing she found no evidence of a dangerous combination against the defendants that would prevent them from having a fair trial in Harris County.

The Thompsons' attorneys contend that frequent airing of that video on television and the internet tainted the jury pool. They also said pretrial publicity pressured the district attorney and the sheriff to rush the investigation that resulted in the grand jury indictments of the Thompsons.

Prosecutors denied those allegations.

VIDEO: Chauna, Terry Thompson leave court after venue change request denied

Opening arguments are set to start on Wednesday.

Chauna Thompson's trial is slated to begin in October.

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