Grand jury indicts Terry Thompson and his deputy wife for murder in deadly Denny's fight

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Friday, June 9, 2017
Couple indicted for murder in deadly Denny's fight
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Couple indicted for murder in deadly Denny's fight, Elissa Rivas reports.

HOUSTON -- A grand jury has indicted Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry, for murder in the deadly fight at Denny's.

WARNING: Some viewers may find the following video disturbing

"We believe that this grand jury true bill is a reflection of our community's belief that a crime occurred," Harris County DA Kim Ogg said. "And that crime was murder and it was participated by Terry Thompson and his wife Deputy Chauna Thompson."

The couple could face five years to life if convicted.

John Hernandez, 24, was in a coma after an altercation with Terry Thompson on May 28 outside of a Denny's in Sheldon.

RAW VIDEO: Harris County DA Kim Ogg and Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez

In a statement to Eyewitness News, the family responded to the latest developments.

"They are satisfied with the swift and thorough action of the district attorney's office and grateful for the work of the grand jury," said Randall Kallinen, the Hernandez family's attorney.

Bond is set at $100,000 for both Terry and Chauna Thompson, who must turn themselves in immediately.

VIDEO: 'When I seen the man turning purple, there was no let up'

Investigators said Hernandez was urinating outside the restaurant and that Terry had yelled at him to stop. A physical altercation ensued, and Harris County Deputy Chauna Thompson, Terry's wife, met him at the Denny's.

It's unclear who initiated the fight, but Terry's attorney claims Hernandez threw the first punch. Terry was put into the back of a patrol car that night, but no charges have been filed in the case.

Video released on Monday showed Terry on top of Hernandez with his arm around Hernandez's throat. Witnesses said Chauna was also trying to restrain Hernandez, putting her knee down on his arm.

VIDEO: 'He didn't have to pay with his life'

"The video to me is almost by itself enough. You see a person on the ground who is completely immobilized and grunting and moaning. And you see a big guy on top of him choking him and he dies of that choking," said Hernandez family attorney Randall Kallinen.

Hernandez stopped breathing and Chauna administered CPR. Hernandez was taken to the hospital but died days later.

The sheriff's office announced Tuesday that Chauna was pulled from her patrol responsibilities and assigned desk duty.

Hundreds of people showed up for a march and vigil Wednesday in front of the Harris County courthouse with a growing number of people calling for the arrests of Chauna and Terry.

"Johnny was such a great person. He was a generous person and he didn't deserve what happened to him," Melissa Hernandez, the victim's cousin said.