Saturday, August 05, 2017


Harris County Deputy Says She Shouldn't Have Been Fired After 24-Year-Old Father's Killing

By Stephen Paulsen

Houston Press
August 4, 2017

Chauna Thompson, the Harris County sheriff’s deputy who was fired for her alleged role in the choking death of John Hernandez, is now appealing her firing.

Thompson’s lawyer, Gregory Cagle, argued in an appeal filed Friday that Thompson's firing was done improperly and was politically motivated. Her termination was “done without an investigation or even an autopsy," Cagle wrote.

It’s a mysterious claim, given that the Harris County Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Hernandez back in June and ruled his death a homicide by strangulation. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office has also been investigating the incident since shortly after Hernandez’s death.

In a statement, Cagle contended that neither the autopsy nor the investigation were complete on June 6.

"It takes at least 6-8 weeks to get an autopsy report," Cagle wrote.

Tricia Bentley, a spokeswoman for the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office, said the full autopsy has yet to be released to the public, but the district attorney's office does have access to the document. A different employee said the full autopsy was finished around July 14, a week before Sheriff Ed Gonzalez fired Thompson.

Thompson was joining her family for a late-night meal at an east Houston Denny’s on May 28 when her husband, Terry Thompson, allegedly came across Hernandez urinating outside. A confrontation ensued, resulting in the death of Hernandez, a 24-year-old father.

Although the Thompsons have insisted they acted in self-defense, much of the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. At least one eyewitness — Denny’s waitress Melissa Trammel — has come forward to dispute the Thompsons' testimony.

Hernandez “was turning purple” as he was restrained, Trammel told KHOU News. ”We told [Terry Thompson] to stop, but he did not.”

Meanwhile, a video of the encounter, captured by an anonymous bystander and later leaked through a local attorney, shows Terry Thompson straddling Hernandez with his arms around Hernandez’s neck. Chauna Thompson, who was off-duty at the time, can be seen in the video ordering Hernandez to remain on the ground.

Hernandez lay there, moaning, for the duration of the one-minute video.

Several weeks later, a Houston grand jury indicted the couple for the murder of John Hernandez. That case is still ongoing. Although Chauna Thompson was put on unpaid leave shortly after the killing, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office didn’t officially terminate her employment until late July.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I wonder if Cagle got his law degree at Cause of death can be determined shortly after a body is received by the medical examiner. It may take as long as 6-8 weeks for the results of toxicology tests to come back because the tests are done by an outside lab.


Anonymous said...

Greg Cagle is a friend of mine and the lead attorney for TMPA. He has a proven track record of getting cops out of trouble that may have been politically motivated. The Harris County Coroners Office does their own toxicology tests. I know, I used to drop off evidence there for processing. I'll bet the deputy gets off and her job back. I can't say the same for her husband.

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that the original video or a new video shows a different version of events. The Sheriff fired her as a knee jerk reaction to bad press just as the D.A. indicted her for the same reason. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

An indictment is not a conviction.

BarkGrowlBite said...

Cagle may be a friend of yours but I strongly suggest you look for someone else if you ever need an attorney.

We wouldn't be having this discussion if Mr. Thompson had done the right thing, and that was to call the police, wait for the cops to arrive, tell them Hernandez peed within sight of his young daughters and agree to be a witness against him in court. Instead the self-declared MMA fighter decides to play cops and robbers by confronting a drunk, which was easy since he was much bigger. He gets the victim face down on the ground and puts him in a choke hold. Along comes his wife, kneels down beside him and appeared to help hold down a hapless Hernandez as his face was turning purple and bystanders were screaming at the couple to get off.

I am sure ex-deputy Thompson did not intend for Hernandez to die, but she used such bad judgement that she doesn't deserve to be in law enforcement.

I'm no fan of Sheriff Ed Gonzales but it sure looks like he followed all the steps required to fire her.

Cagle may very well get a jury to find her innocent of murder since juries tend to side with law enforcement officers, but I seriously doubt he'll succeed in getting Thompson her job back.

BarkGrowlBite said...

As for a different version, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of a video that shows Hernandez choking himself to death.

Anonymous said...

You won't find that version because the husband did it.

BarkGrowlBite said...

And she helped him! She sure as hell did not help save Hernandez which she could have done by jerking that jerk off of the poor dying bastard.