A Texas sheriff’s deputy and her husband were indicted on murder charges Thursday in the choking death of a young man outside a Denny’s restaurant, reports the Houston Chronicle.
Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry Thompson, face charges for allegedly killing 24-year-old John Hernandez. On May 28, Thompson encountered Hernandez intoxicated and urinating in front of a Denny’s restaurant near Houston.
The subsequent altercation between Terry Thompson and Hernandez got recorded on a bystander’s cell phone. The video shows Hernandez kicking and gasping for air under Thompson as he pins the 24-year-old to the sidewalk.
“The man was turning purple,” restaurant worker Melissa Trammell said. “We begged him to get off the man and he wouldn’t.”
Chauna Thompson, who was off duty at the time, arrived separately and called for assistance when Hernandez lost unconsciousness. She faces accessory to murder charges, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Hernandez died three days later from strangulation and chest compressions.
Harris County Sheriff’s Department faced increasing pressure to charge the Thompsons in the following days. A grand jury ruled on the case just a day after more than 100 protesters marched across Houston, chanting “brown lives matter” and “justice for John Hernandez.”
“We have a little bit of hope,” said Melissa Hernandez, cousin of Hernandez. “This is a small step in the right direction.”
The couple turned themselves in to authorities on Thursday night. Both made $100,000 bail the next morning and were released. If convicted, the Thompsons could face up to life in prison.