Denny’s chokehold death ruled a ‘homicide,’ but no charges filed as man’s family demands justice

HARRIS COUNTY - "They took my nephew in an ugly way," Wendy Maldonado, the aunt of John Hernandez, who died from injuries sustained in a fight outside a north Harris County Denny's, declared. "They choked him to death! And it hurts. And I'm angry."

Outrage is growing over the strangling death of Hernandez now that the Harris County Medical Examiner has ruled the death a homicide. Now the Hernandez family wants swift justice.

"What else do we have to do? All we want is justice, justice for my nephew. He did not deserve that," Maldonado said.

The Harris County DA's Office says the evidence in the case will be presented to a grand jury, and they will determine if a crime has been committed.

Newly released cellphone video of the tragic incident reveals how a fight went down between Hernandez and the husband of a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy outside the restaurant.

Twenty-four-year-old Hernandez later died from his injuries.

The family is just thankful for the video showing what took place.

"Oh my God, when we saw that video, as I'm watching it, it just took my breath— it's like Ahh! And we just felt so helpless," Maldonado added.

No charges have been filed in the case, but the Harris County Sheriff's Office has placed the deputy on administrative duty indefinitely.

"If this isn't evidence enough, then what's going to be enough to convict this man?" Hernandez's cousin Brittney Escalante questioned. "He killed my cousin, and we want him in jail!"

Escalante isn't satisfied with the treatment of the deputy at this point, either.

"She needs to be taken off now! Rip her of her badge, everything! We want justice for my family," she demanded.

But the attorney for the Harris County deputy's family issued a statement saying, "We have not committed any crime. Mr. Hernandez was the initial aggressor, striking my client."

He also says his client is receiving threats on social media.

But a similar case in Nevada resulted in a deputy there being charged with manslaughter.

Now all the parties in this case wait to see what a grand jury will decide.

"They're still roaming the streets with no remorse," Maldonado said. "Acting like this never happened...like they didn't take someone's life."