WATCH: Husband of Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Found Guilty of Murder

HOUSTON – A jury found Terry Thompson guilty of murder in the death of John Hernandez. Thompson is the husband of former Harris County Sheriff’s deputy Chauna Thompson, who is also charged with murder. The jury reached a verdict during its second day of deliberations.

At lunchtime, Thompson left the courtroom and had a meal with his wife. Two hours, later just before 2 p.m., the jury reached its verdict finding Thompson guilty of murder.

Thompson was free on bond during the trial, but moments after the jury found him guilty of murder, he took several deep breaths, turned to his wife and mouthed “I love you”. Then his freedom was gone. Thompson was handcuffed and taken to jail.

“I’m satisfied to know justice was served and he cannot be free after what he did,” said John Hernandez’s parents Ignacio and Elena Hernandez.

In May 2017, Thompson killed Hernandez by putting him in a chokehold during a fight in a Crobsy-area Denny’s parking lot after Thompson scolded a drunken Hernandez for urinating in the parking lot. Most of the more than 10-minute physical confrontation was caught on camera. Thompson maintains he was trying to hold Hernandez until police arrived, but prosecutors say he acted in anger.

“This was a win for the community, because everybody was really emotional thinking this was just going to go by the wayside and it didn’t,” says Hernandez’s cousin Diana Escalante.

“It’s a very big deal, because for once we see the system worked in our favor and not against us. We don’t always see justice for people of color,” says Cesar Espinosa Executive Director for Houston FIEL.

Thompson’s wife, Chauna, was a Harris County Sheriff’s deputy at the time. She too is on camera holding Hernandez down and is awaiting trial.

Terry Thompson’s first trial ended in a hung jury in June. What’s different this time? Prosecutors Sarah Seely and John Jordan were hand-picked.

“I do think this trial team made a difference. I selected them because I thought they were the best we had,” explains 1st Assistant Harris County District Attorney Tom Berg.

Jurors had four possibilities to consider: finding Thompson guilty of murder, if they believe he intended to cause death or serious bodily injury by committing an act dangerous to human life; manslaughter, if they believe Thompson behaved recklessly; criminally negligent homicide, if jurors believe Thompson acted in negligence; or they could come back with a not guilty verdict.

The punishment range for murder is 5 to 99 years in prison. The sentencing phase of Thompson’s trial begins Tuesday morning.

In closing arguments, the video was played for jurors of John Hernandez’s last moments alive as Thompson held Hernandez in a choke hold in the Denny’s parking lot.

“While this certainly is the Lone Star State, it is not the Wild West,” Prosecutor Sarah Seely told jurors.

The prosecution maintains Thompson became angry after arriving at Denny’s in May 2017 with his teen daughter and her friends and Hernandez was urinating in the parking lot. So Thompson yelled at him, and the defense attorney says Hernandez then pushed and punched Thompson. “Whack. That’s the response,” Defense Attorney Scot Courtney demonstrated to the jury.

”Are we going to say if someone gives you a black eye, you can kill them?” Seely asked jurors.

Denny’s surveillance video caught the first few seconds of the scuffle. “It took him (Thompson) ten seconds to take John Hernandez to the ground and stay on top of him for the next ten minutes,” says Seely.

Several people tried to get Thompson off Hernandez and called 911. “If you guys don’t hurry up he’s gonna kill him,” the Denny’s manager told 911.

”If you think he intended to murder him from the get go, ask yourself, why?” Courtney told jurors.

The defense claims Thompson held Hernandez in a choke hold to keep him there until police arrived, but prosecutors say Thompson never told anyone to call police. They point to the video of Thompson’s teen daughter trying to force customers to stop recording cell phone video as evidence that Thompson acted in anger, not fear.

The defense attorney reminded jurors Hernandez was actually in another confrontation with a different Denny’s customer minutes before he encountered Thompson. That other customer called 911 saying Hernandez had been driving drunk with his 3-year-old daughter in the car. Courtney also told jurors Denny’s surveillance video captured Hernandez elbowing and shoving his wife as she tried to keep him from that first confrontation.

Prosecutor John Jordan stood silent after telling jurors to imagine struggling to breath for 3 minutes and 36 seconds, the amount of time on the cell phone video after Jordan says Hernandez tapped out of the fight, is fighting for breath and begins going limp. “Your verdict has to be murder.”

Jurors had four possibilities to consider: finding Thompson guilty of murder, if they believe he intended to cause death or serious bodily injury by committing an act dangerous to human life; manslaughter, if they believe Thompson behaved recklessly; criminally negligent homicide, if jurors believe Thompson acted in negligence; or they could come back with a not guilty verdict.

There was also the chance of having a repeat of what happened in June 2018 when ended in a hung jury.

Source: http://www.fox26houston.com/news/closing-arguments-begin-in-the-terry-thompson-re-trial?fbclid=IwAR1w62roq_medAAAaOpCrDQXm0Dunn4aaHaAxFzzCom2FwqNcf7FH6s883s

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5620 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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