Murder trial begins for former deputy's husband shown on video choking man

- The husband of a former Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy is in court charged with murder after he was captured on video choking a man who later died. The incident was in May 2017. A jury has been selected in the murder trial for Terry Thompson, who is charged with murder in the death of John Hernandez outside a Denny’s restaurant. Someone recorded cell phone video of the ultimately-deadly scuffle.

Thompson is seen in the video with his body on top of Hernandez and using a choke hold. You can hear witnesses begging Thompson to let him go. Thompson’s wife, Chauna, who was then an off-duty Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy, is seen helping pin Hernandez down.

”It’s difficult, especially knowing she is trained to de-escalate situations, but unfortunately in this situation, instead of de-escalating, she participated,” says someone interpreting for Hernandez’s parents, Ignacio and Maria.

"He was strangled until he died,” adds Randall Kallinen, the civil attorney for the Hernandez family, which filed a lawsuit against the Terry and Chauna Thompson.  

"That’s to hopefully compensate and help the daughter of John Hernandez,” explains Kallinen. 

Wearing Justice for John shirts, supporters joined the Hernandez family at the courthouse as jury selection began in the murder trial against Thompson.

"We’re going to be here for the family," says Cesar Espinosa, executive director of FIEL Houston. "We’re going to be supporting them in any role we can until we see justice for John.”

"It’s a horrible feeling for my family," says John Hernandez's sister Jennifer. "My mom was in the hospital because she just couldn’t stand it. It was too much for her.”                

The trial for Terry Thompson is expected to last two weeks.  The murder trial for Chauna Thompson is scheduled to begin in October.

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