Wife of Denny's fight victim said she was held, questioned for hours

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The wife of John Hernandez said she was held in a patrol car and questioned for four hours following the altercation that fatally injured her husband.

As her husband was taken to the hospital following a violent altercation at a local Denny's, the wife of John Hernandez said she was held in the back of a sheriff's patrol vehicle and questioned for hours.

In an explosive Friday afternoon news conference, Maria Hernandez's attorney said investigators took her cell phone and detained her for hours on the night of May 28.

"Four hours -- what for? She was not accused of a crime. She was not suspected of a crime, she was the victim," said family attorney Randall Kallinen.

Kallinen also said sheriff's deputies contacted the district attorney's office that evening to request that a misdemeanor assault charge be filed against John Hernandez, who died days later after he was taken off of life support.

VIDEO: Hernandez family attorney blasts 'shoddy' investigation
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The Hernandez family attorney blasted the investigation into the fatal Denny's fight as 'shoddy.'

The charge against Hernandez was provisionally accepted by the Harris County District Attorney's Office but never filed in courts because the information was incomplete, according to a spokesman for the office.

While Maria Hernandez was questioned at length and that charge was accepted against John Hernandez the night of the altercation, Terry and Chauna Thompson, both of whom a grand jury later indicted for murder for Hernandez's strangulation death, were free to go.

"They were not treated fairly. The investigation was shoddy and I feel the reason it was this way is because one of the individuals involved was the husband of a Harris County sheriff's deputy," Kallinen alleged.
"Without cultural change in the Harris County Sheriff's Office as to what happens when sheriff's deputies and the relatives of sheriff's deputies might have done something wrong, we need to have everything done just the way it would be for anyone else," he added.

VIDEO: Timeline of events in deadly Denny's altercation
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Timeline of events of the deadly confrontation outside a Denny's restaurant

In a subsequent news conference, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez reiterated that an investigation into deputies' actions on the night of the brawl was already underway.

"An internal affairs investigation was launched that night, and I have asked that investigation review the actions of all personnel involved," Gonzalez said. "This is a high-priority administrative review, and I ask that it be conducted in a timely, thorough manner."

Gonzalez added that the investigation, which currently includes eight deputies, will determine why homicide investigators were never called to the scene of the brawl.

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