A Harris County Sheriff's Deputy and her husband, hours after being indicted on murder charges in the death of John Hernandez, are free after posting bail.
Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry Thompson, were released Thursday night after making bail payments of $100,000 each. The pair, who face up to life in prison, are due back in court on Tuesday.
Terry Thompson also has a 1996 felony conviction for burglary of a vehicle, while his wife has no criminal record in Harris County, court records state.
Just two weeks have passed since a mysterious fight outside an east Harris County Denny’s ended with Hernandez, a 24-year-old father, dead. But the case has moved quickly, propelled by local activism, a graphic video, and an apparently sympathetic sheriff and district attorney.
On June 2, less than a week after the killing, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez asked state and federal agencies to join the investigation into Hernandez’s death. The move was necessary, he said, to ensure “full transparency.”
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An anonymous bystander shot a cell phone video of the encounter, which showed Terry Thompson on top of Hernandez with his arm locked around Hernandez’s neck. In the video, Hernandez thrashes his feet and moans while Deputy Chauna Thompson orders him to remain on the ground.
On Monday, the Harris County medical examiner declared Hernandez's death a homicide due to strangulation and chest compression. Coupled with video showing Terry Thompson holding Hernandez in a chokehold, the evidence appeared damning to the couple.
On Thursday, a grand jury indicted the Thompsons on murder charges after just one day of deliberation. Sheriff Gonzalez, along with Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, announced the decision at a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“Today we move one step closer to justice for John Hernandez,” Ogg said.