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Man's death after fight in TX ruled a homicide

Posted at 6:13 AM, Jun 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-07 06:13:18-04

SHELDON, TX (KTRK/CNN) – Prosecutors in Texas will present evidence to a grand jury in the case of a deadly fight caught on camera last month after the victim’s death was ruled a homicide.

The Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences has ruled the death of John Hernandez, 24, a homicide. The cause of death was specified by the medical examiner as “anoxic encephalopathy due to strangulation with chest compression.”

"Where are they? Why aren't they speaking up for what they've done? They killed my nephew,” said Wendy Maldonado, Hernandez’s aunt.

Hernandez was involved in a fight with 41-year-old Terry Thompson May 28 outside a Denny’s. Investigators say Thompson had yelled at Hernandez to stop urinating outside.

A video taken by a concerned citizen shows the end of the fight. Attorneys for Hernandez say the video shows Thompson and his wife Chauna, a Harris County sheriff’s deputy, on top of the 24-year-old squeezing the life from him.

Hernandez died several days after the fight.

"This is not OK. This is not OK for anybody to suffer this loss,” said Susanna Santana, Hernandez’s cousin.

The Hernandez family is calling for swift justice in the case where no one was arrested or charged.

Thompson’s lawyer says his client did nothing illegal.

Investigators haven’t said who started the fight that resulted in Hernandez’s death, but an eyewitness and Thompson’s attorney say Hernandez threw the first blow.

Deputy Chauna Thompson has been taken off patrol duties since the incident, but the Harris County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t given a reason why she’s been put on desk duty.

Copyright 2017 KTRK, Hernandez Family, Harris County Medical Examiner, Denny’s via CNN. All rights reserved.