HOUSTON (FOX 26) - New information about the deadly and highly controversial no-knock raid that killed a husband, wife, and injured five Houston police officers.
The autopsy of Rhogena Nicholas has been made available. It's been three months since that deadly raid, and while Nicholas' autopsy is public, attorneys representing the family say the report released shows a growing list of troubling questions about how the Houston Police Department reacted that day.
The report ruled Nicholas’ death a homicide, and her cause of death was four gunshot wounds to her chest and right leg. There was also mention of blunt force injury to her head, chest, and extremities. The report mentions the evidence that was collected from the home. While different types of shell casing were found, there was no mention of the .357 casings.
Police claimed they watched an informant buy heroin at their home. They got a warrant to drop by unannounced. They busted in, bullets flew. Rhogena and her husband were killed, four officers were shot.
Now, the department thinks the case agent lied on the paperwork. An informant to back this story can't be found.
All of that officer's past cases are being reviewed. That officer and another have been relieved of duty.
One of two autopsies for the victims confirms that Rhogena Nicholas was shot dead. The autopsy report of her husband, Dennis Tuttle, has yet to be released.
Nicholas' autopsy came from her attorney. It shows she was shot in the chest, leg, and thigh, as well as blunt force trauma to her head and torso. Her attorney claims she died from police bullets.
Nicholas tested negative for fentanyl and cocaine. She did test positive for Benzoylecgonine, which is a metabolite of cocaine. This could be a prescription drug such as a muscle relaxer, or it could be cocaine that had been metabolized in her liver. A small, but positive reading came in for this drug.
Positive results were obtained for cocaine, CHC, and other opiates in the past, but at her time of death, none of these were found in Nicholas' system.
With the release of her autopsy report, her family’s attorney issued a statement, part of it reads:
“While our independent investigation of the fatal incident continues, the autopsy report specifically notes a lack of .357 shell casings at the scene, the gun police claimed was possessed by Ms. Nicholas’ husband.”
We reached out to HPD but they declined to comment at this time as this is an ongoing internal affairs investigation.