Jury selection begins for ex-deputy’s husband in John Hernandez murder trial

HOUSTON - Jury selection got underway Friday in the high profile murder trial of Terry Thompson, an ex-deputy's husband accused of putting 24-year-old John Hernandez into a fatal choke hold outside a Denny's near Crosby a little more than a year ago.

Hernandez died in the hospital three days after the altercation, which happened on May 28.

Ex-HCSO deputy Chauna Thompson, 46, and husband Terry Thompson, 42, on trail for murder.

Ex-HCSO deputy Chauna Thompson, 46, and husband Terry Thompson, 42, on trail for murder.

The supsect's wife and former Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Chauna Thompson, 46, faces her own murder trial in the case later this year.

Terry Thompson, 42, appeared in court as, one by one, potential jurors were evaluated.

According to a clerk for the 178th District Court, the jury selection has proven to be a lengthy process.

RELATED: Former HCSO deputy, husband denied change of venue for infamous Denny’s murder trial

Still, the court hopes to have a full jury picked by the end of the day.

Thompson faces life in prison if convicted.

The emotionally-charged case has led to national attention after mass protests have gathered locally over the past year— all under the mantra Justice for Johnny.

John Hernandez, 24, and his three-year-old daughter.

John Hernandez, 24, and his three-year-old daughter.

Some Hernandez family members and supporters gathered outside the Harris County courthouse during jury selection.

"Justice is coming in the form of a trial that's starting here today," civil rights attorney Randall Kallinen declared. "Over a dozen witnesses came forward for the prosecution."

 

WATCH: Video shows deputy’s husband using chokehold on man who died after confrontation at Denny’s

"Conviction is only part of the battle, but sentencing phase in this-- we need that to be strict and stern," local activist Shere Dore said.

But Thompson's attorneys have expressed concern that "mob justice" may be delivered instead of calling attention to facts in the case they say clear their client.

Screenshot of video showing altercation between John Hernandez and Terry Thompson in Denny's parking lot on .

Screenshot of video showing altercation between John Hernandez and Terry Thompson in Denny's parking lot on .

They claim Hernandez was urinating in the Denny's parking lot when their client approached him and an argument broke out.

They also say Hernandez threw the first punch, which eventually led to the choke hold being used.

No matter what, it's clear a showdown in court is brewing, and this case could fire up the community before it's all over.

ALSO READ: Hernandez family files civil lawsuit against Thompsons to help victim’s 3-year-old daughter