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UPDATE: On First Day Of Terry Thompson’s Trial, Lawyer Says He Didn’t Intend To Kill

The prosecutor underscores that Thompson performed the chokehold on John Hernandez for more than a minute and prolonged it until he stopped breathing

The trial of Terry Thompson for the murder of John Hernandez in May 2017 started Wednesday and Thompson’s defense attorney said during the opening arguments his client didn’t intend to kill the 24 year-old man.

As reported by KHOU-CBS Channel 11, attorney Scot Courtney told the jury that Thompson was only trying to restrain and subdue Hernandez with a chokehold during a physical confrontation the two men had at a Denny’s restaurant located in the greater Houston area.

Thompson and his wife, Chauna Thompson, a former Harris County Sheriff’s deputy, are accused of holding down 24 year-old Hernandez in a chokehold. Hernandez died three days later after the confrontation.

As reported by the Houston Chronicle, Thompson’s defense –which, besides Courtney, is also formed by attorney Greg Cagle– told the jury that Hernandez was intoxicated and belligerent and that, before the confrontation with their client, he had tried to start another fight.

On his part, Harris County Assistant District Attorney Jules Johnson underscored that Thompson performed the chokehold on Hernandez for more than a minute and, also according to the Chronicle’s reporting, added that he prolonged it until the 24 year-old man was no longer breathing.

Thompson faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Chauna Thompson, who was off-duty during the confrontation, was later fired from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Her trial is set for October.

The couple’s lawyers say Hernandez was urinating outside the restaurant when Terry Thompson confronted him, an argument turned physical and Hernandez threw the first punch, initiating the fight.

Authorities initially tried to charge Hernandez with assault but reversed after a bystander video surfaced.

Members of Hernandez’s family were at the courthouse and said they expect justice will be made with a conviction for Thompson.

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