HOUSTON - Nearly two years after the controversial Harding Street raid, the family of the woman killed is hoping to uncover more evidence on Friday, announced the law firms representing the family.
In a ruling on Monday, Judge Jerry Simoneaux of Harris County Probate Court No. 1 denied the city’s latest attempt to withhold evidence of the incident from the family of Rhogena Nicholas, who was killed along with her husband, Dennis Tuttle, and their dog in the deadly, no-knock drug raid on Jan. 28, 2019. Four officers were also shot and survived their injuries.
The Texas Supreme Court has twice rejected the city’s attempts to stop the probate court, which routinely handles wrongful death and probate cases, from proceeding with the Nicholas family’s petition to investigate the incident.
The probate court set the hearing in the case for 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The Nicholas family’s legal team said in a news release that it intends to "introduce new findings from its ongoing investigation and present witness testimony from a family member, from expert witnesses, and from a representative of the Houston Police Department."
"From the beginning, the city’s story about the incident has never made sense. It’s time for the cover-up to end," said Attorney Michael Patrick Doyle. "So we ask the mayor and police chief again: What is the city so desperate to hide? The family and the citizens of Houston deserve to know what HPD did before, during and after the unjustified attack on Rhogena in her home."
According to the release, the Nicholas family is seeking a court order for sworn depositions of HPD managers responsible for the narcotics unit involved in the raid. The appellate court also noted that the city has refused to release 911 records related to the incident or disclose what physical materials were removed from the scene.
Five months ago, Harris County grand jury indicted six former Houston police officers on 15 felony charges for their involvement in the deadly raid. Their crimes were uncovered during an ongoing investigation of the Houston Police Department Narcotics Division.
"Our family’s search for the truth of what happened to Rhogena is finally moving forward," said John Nicholas, the brother of Rhogena. "Rhogena did not deserve to be executed in her own home by the Houston Police Department – and it’s time the mayor and chief of police provide our family with an explanation.”