Harris County Sheriff's deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband Terry Thompson could be facing life in prison after a fight at a local Denny's turned deadly, with Terry Thompson putting a man into a fatal chokehold.
According to CNN, video recordings of the incident will likely play a huge factor in the trial of the couple, who claim they acted out of self-defense. Thompson had approached victim John Hernandez after seeing him urinating outside the restaurant.
"After being confronted with urinating in public, he rushed to my client and struck him in the face. Now, I would consider that an attack," said Thompson's attorney, Scot Courtney. "My client was trying to subdue him," Courtney said. "That's all he was doing."
Video recorded by a bystander shows Terry Thompson placing Hernandez in a headlock while Chauna Thompson (off-duty) held his arms. Hernandez's wife and daughter were in the restaurant at the time but eventually came out and demand Terry cease. Terry can be heard saying "Do you want me to hit you again? Do you want me to hit you again?" in the video. Terry released his hold when he noticed Hernandez had stopped breathing. Chauna Thompson attempted CPR. Hernandez was taken to a hospital where he died shortly thereafter. An autopsy declared homicide as the cause of Hernandez's death.
Hernandez's family wonders if the couple received preferential treatment in courts and throughout the justice process because of Chauna's connections to law enforcement.
"It does raise questions for us. We are concerned that things happened later than they should have, but we have a complete picture now," said Tom Berg, first assistant district attorney for Harris County.
"This should not have happened, and the fact that it did happen shows that there are things that need to be fixed within the sheriff's department," said Oscar Hernandez, a relative of the victim.
As the Thompson's await their trial, Chauna Thompson has been moved to an administrative job, according to ABC.
[Photo: Harris County Sheriff's Office]