A Harris county deputy and her husband have been indicted by a Harris county grand jury for murder in the death of a man following an altercation at a Denny’s restaurant. Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband Terry Thompson were videotaped restraining John Hernandez, with Terry Thompson applying a choke hold and laying on top of the smaller Hernandez.
News reports say that Terry Thompson saw Mr. Hernandez urinating outside the Denny’s and told him to stop. A physical altercation then occurred leading to the scene shown in the video where Mr. Thompson has Mr. Hernandez pinned to the ground and in a choke hold. At some point Chauna Thompson, the Harris county deputy, arrived and is seen in the video helping her husband restrain Mr. Hernandez. Denny’s employees who witnessed the event told reporters that they told Mr. Thompson to let Mr. Hernandez go when they saw him turning purple.
According to Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, the Thompsons declined to testify before the grand jury. This is not surprising as grand jury defense attorneys advise almost all people facing indictment against testifying. Too many things can go wrong for an accused in this situation, and because the standard to indict (probable cause to believe an offense has occurred) is so low, it is unlikely that an accused’s testimony will prevent indictment.
For anyone facing indictment, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney. In Tarrant county and other Texas counties, a defense attorney can provide evidence to be presented to the grand jury. While most grand jury attorneys will advise almost every criminal accused against testifying themselves, it is possible to present affidavits or point out aspects of the evidence that do not support indictment. If you are facing indictment in Tarrant county, call Blake & Blake LLP at (817) 497-8889. We are Fort Worth Grand Jury Attorneys and can help you determine the best strategy to avoid indictment if possible or to prepare your best defense against the charges if you are indicted.