The Harris County Sheriff’s Department fired the deputy accused of murder following the death of John Hernandez outside of a Houston Denny’s restaurant back in May. The firing was announced via a news release issued by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Hernandez’s family later held a news conference, in which they thanked the sheriff’s office for reaching their decision. They called it a step in the right direction and that it would be the ultimate justice to obtain a conviction for both individuals.
Thompson and her family were having dinner at the Denny’s restaurant on May 28th when her husband, Terry, allegedly saw Hernandez urinating outside the establishment. Thompson’s husband allegedly asked Hernandez to stop, then a confrontation began that involved Hernandez being put in a headlock or a chokehold. Once the confrontation finished, Hernandez had passed away.
Thompson and her husband tried to claim that the confrontation involving Hernandez was self-defense; however, a video taken by an eyewitness proved that version of events was flat out wrong. The video shows Thompson’s husband with his arms around Hernandez’s neck while straddling him. Hernandez continues to moan while Thompson herself continues to order him to stay on the ground. Someone with the Thompson family that night can be seen and heard telling the person recording to turn it off.
One of the Denny’s waitresses later stated to reporters that both she and a manager begged the Thompsons to stop choking Hernandez, saying that he was turning purple. Despite their pleas, they refused to stop.
After Hernandez passed away, criminal charges were filed. Less than a week later, the medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by strangulation. After a day of deliberating, a Harris County grand jury indicted the Thompsons on charges of murder.
Thompson herself had previously been on administrative leave without pay; however, the decision to fire her came after the sheriff decided to support the charges. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg also stood behind the charges.
With all the national attention law enforcement has received over the last year about brutality and suspects dying in custody, it will be interesting to see whether the Thompsons’ defense attorneys can find jurors that do not have preconceived notions about this type of charge.