The family of John Hernandez claims that Terry Thompson, one of the assailants charged with his murder, had trained in MMA and thus knew the potential consequences of his actions.
Mixed martial arts is getting another inglorious entry into public discourse. This time due to the recent strangulation death of John Hernandez at a Houston area Denny’s. Reports surrounding the incident say that Terry Thompson and his wife Chauna Thompson (an off-duty Harris County Sheriff’s deputy), confronted Hernandez outside the restaurant for urinating in public.
The confrontation turned physical and ended with Terry Thompson on top of Hernandez’s applying something similar to a rear naked choke, as his wife restrained the man’s limbs. Reports state that Hernandez became unresponsive and stopped breathing, at which point Chauna Thompson attempted CPR. Hernandez died three days later. Both Terry Thompson and Chauna Thompson have since been charged with murder.
[Video of the incident can be found here – Warning: content may be disturbing]
That’s where MMA enters this tragic story. The Houston Press reports on the details of a new “wrongful death lawsuit” filed on Monday, June 12th by Hernandez’s family against Chauna and Terry Thompson. In it, lawyers for the family make the case that evidence of Terry Thompson’s MMA training shows the he should have been “aware of the deadly nature of certain chokeholds.”
“The Thompsons knew [they] were killing John Hernandez,” Hernadez’s lawyers argue.
The report states that posts on Thompson’s Facebook page (which has since been deactivated) showed evidence of his MMA training. A search for professional and amateur fight records for Terry Thompson don’t show any exact matches for the 41-year-old, but regional amateur and semi-pro records are notoriously under-reported. And a lack of pro or amateur fighting experience wouldn’t preclude claims of Thompson having trained in mixed martial arts.
Lawyers for the family say that they hope the civil case will provide funds for Hernandez’s daughter.