HOUSTON -- Sheriff's Deputy Chauna Thompson and her husband Terry Thompson were taunted by protesters when they arrived at a Houston courtroom Tuesday to face a judge on murder charges.
The Thompsons are charged with the strangulation murder of John Hernandez at a Sheldon-area Denny's.
In court Tuesday, Judge Kelli Johnson read them their rights and the stipulations of their bond. The couple will be given random urine tests and will not be allowed access to guns, even with Chauna's status as a deputy. The Thompsons were also ordered to have no contact with the victim's family.
Outside the courtroom, attorneys painted their clients as victims.
"Kind of a mob mentality, it's very threatening, it's very personal," Attorney Scot Courtney said. "They feel threatened."
Terry Thompson is the man seen on video holding Hernandez in a choke hold outside a Sheldon restaurant. Chauna Thompson helped restrain the victim. The medical examiner ruled Hernandez, 24, died from strangulation and chest compression.
Gregory Cagle, Chauna's attorney, hinted at the defense he plans to present.
"I don't think anybody else would be indicted for murder for touching someone's arm," he said.
Both attorneys claim their clients were the victims of a rush to an indictment by the DA's office.
"I've been practicing here for 23 years -- so has Mr. Courtney – and neither of us has ever seen or ever heard of a case getting indicted in 10 days," Cagle said.
"It certainly was rushed, there's no doubt about it," Courtney agreed.
"My message is that the Harris County District Attorney's Office is dedicated to seeking justice in the death of John Hernandez," said David Mitcham with the DA's Office.
“It's wrong, you know they shouldn't have killed the man. Nobody's life is worth taking for a mistake. We all make mistakes,” Melissa Trammel told KHOU 11 News. “Me and my manager we begged this man. He was turning purple we told him to stop but he did not stop."
Hernandez's wife and 3-year-old daughter also begged Thompson to stop but he and his wife ignored their pleas.
A grand indicted the couple last Thursday. They were each freed after posting a $100,000 bond.
The family of John Hernandez filed a civil lawsuit against Terry and Chauna Thompson on Monday.
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