Grand Jury Charges Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy With Murder in Denny’s Chokehold Death

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJune 9, 2017 12:38 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The number of Texas foster children sleeping in Child Protective Services offices or hotels rose for the fourth month in a row.

The Dallas Morning News reports that last month 84 children spent at least two consecutive nights in an office or hotel.

Department of Family and Protective Services spokesman Patrick Crimmins told the paper the agency continues to struggle to find placements for high needs kids.

Back in December 2016, Gov. Greg Abbott launched a pilot program aimed at increasing placements for this exact group of kids.

“Those kids that have mental illnesses, they may have behavioral health issues, and they have more profound needs and they need more services, more intense services, more specialized services than the general population of foster kids,” Crimmins told the Standard after the program’s launch.

During the recent 85th Legislative session, lawmakers decided to increase the budget for child welfare services by 17 percent for the next two years.

A Harris County sheriff’s deputy and her husband could face life in prison for the death of 24-year-old John Hernandez.

On May 28, Terry Thompson confronted Hernandez for public urination outside of a Denny’s and an altercation ensued. A cell phone video captured Thompson pinning Hernandez to the ground while keeping him in a chokehold.

Thompson’s wife, deputy Chauna Thompson, held Hernandez’s arm. She was off duty at the time.

The Houston Chronicle reports Hernandez died three days later of chest compression and strangulation.

His death sparked a protest in downtown Houston earlier this week.

A grand jury indicted both Terry and Chauna Thompson on murder charges on Thursday.

In a press conference, Hernandez’s aunt, Wendy Maldonado, said the family wouldn’t seek the death penalty.

“We don’t want them dead – they already took a life that was enough,” Maldonado told Houston’s local ABC station. “This family has a heart and we are filled with love and they are human too. We would rather have them get life sentences.”

The Thompsons both posted bail at $100,000 each this morning.

The Navy’s USS Gabrielle Giffords is being commissioned on Saturday in a ceremony in the Port of Galveston.

It’s one of a new class of warship and it’s being named for the former Arizona Congresswoman who was wounded in a 2011 assassination attempt.

Petty Officer First Class Mark Dobrinin says the ship is designed to be extremely fast.

“It doesn’t have a weigh capability. We have a large flight deck. With this mission bay and the flight deck the way it is, we have unlimited opportunity versus any other ship out there,” he says. “So we can add whatever we need, whenever we need it.”

Giffords is the first living woman since Martha Washington to be the namesake of a Naval warship.