Testimony reveals timeline in botched HPD raid

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Testimony Friday morning from an FBI agent centered around whether former Houston Police officer Gerald Goins should get out on bond.

It's the first time the public has heard in detail the timeline of events that led up to the raid where Rhogena Nicolas and Dennis Tuttle died in a hail of gunfire.

Gerald Goines, 55, was arrested Wednesday morning on a federal indictment related to the raid, his attorney Nicole DeBorde confirmed this week.

RELATED: Former HPD officers at center of botched, deadly raid arrested by FBI

During his testimony, the FBI agent said Officer Gerald Goines claimed he purchased heroin at 7815 Harding St., but the FBI's agent says that simply did not happen.

Instead, the agent said the drugs were actually purchased by a confidential informant at a completely different house, days before the raid.

The FBI agent also said that the confidential informant has had a multi-year affair with Goines.

The agent also testified that, after the raid on Jan. 28, Houston police searched Goines' car, where they found a number of loose drugs including crack and marijuana. They also found a gun, which was stolen, according to the agent.

The FBI says it is also investigating a number of other questionable search warrants in cases related to Goines that have nothing to do with the Harding Street raid.

Defense attorneys are now questioning the FBI agent, hoping to show the judge that Goines should be given bond.

In the audience of the courtroom are former Houston First lady Elyse Lanier and her son-in-law, wealthy businessman Christopher Sarah. Goines had provided security for both families for more than 25 years.

They, along with Goines' wife, are hoping the judge grants bond.

Goines has been indicted on federal civil rights charges and stands accused of depriving the victims of their constitutional right to be secure against unreasonable searches.

If convicted of the civil rights charges, Goines faces up to life in prison.

Goines has also been charged with two counts of first-degree murder. He's accused of lying to get a search warrant to go into the victims' home.

Steven Bryant, 46, is the second former HPD officer facing charges in the Jan. 28 raid that caused the deaths of Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas, who were inside their home at 7815 Harding St. in southeast Houston.

A 53-year-old woman named Patricia Garcia has also been arrested in connection with the raid. Garcia is accused of conveying false information by making several fake 911 calls.

The charge specifically stems from Jan. 8, when Garcia made several calls claiming her daughter was inside the home on Harding, according to the indictment. Garcia is accused of saying Tuttle and Nicholas were addicts, drug dealers and that they had guns, including machine guns, inside their home.

Garcia faces five years in prison, if convicted.



After Wednesday's actions, the Harris County District Attorney's Office released this statement:

It is not uncommon for defendants in complex cases to be charged by both local and federal authorities under separate laws; our investigation continues. We all want to flesh out all the facts, all the evidence, and ensure that the truth is known.

Gerald Goines is charged with felony murder under state law and has been charged with civil rights violations under federal law.

Steven Bryant is charged with tampering with a government record under state law and now has also been charged federally with obstructing justice by falsifying records.


Additionally, Michael Patrick Doyle of Doyle LLP, the legal counsel Nicholas' family, offered this statement:

"We hope the Nicholas family's quest for justice in the death of Rhogena will be expedited by the FBI's actions today. The investigation of the rogue Harding Street raid and the Houston Police Department must continue as far and wide as necessary. If city officials continue to refuse to disclose what happened in these HPD killings, we hope federal authorities will do so. The federal indictments confirm the breadth and depth of the lies told to justify the raid before and after the death of Rhogena Nicholas."

According to friends, Tuttle and Nicholas were not the hardcore heroin dealers as described in the now-debunked search warrants.

Goines' actions, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said back in August, are what caused the deaths of Nicholas and Tuttle.

"I absolutely believe he was overcharged," DeBorde has said. "I firmly believe that Mr. Goines is innocent of any crime and we look forward to defending this case vigorously in court."

SEE ALSO: Botched HPD raid: Officer charged with 2 counts of murder

Court records show prosecutors see the case very differently. According to the charging document, officers received a 911 call relating to people using drugs at 7815 Harding with a person named "Reggie." That was earlier in the day on Jan. 8, 2019. Later on in the day, two patrol officers responded to the call, but observed no sign of criminal activity at the Harding Street house.

Records show the patrol officer who responded then wrote the information related to her call on a yellow legal pad and turned it over to the narcotics division.

That is how former officer Goines allegedly became aware of a possible drug case at the Harding Street location.

Court records show prosecutors do not believe Goines followed any of the protocol in conducting a standard police investigation between the tip and the raid. In court documents, they alleged that there was never a confidential informant, as detailed in the original warrant. They also allege that in interviews following the raid, Goines said he actually personally made the purchase of the drugs. In addition, they state Goines admitted to providing false information to a magistrate judge in order to secure the "no-knock" warrant.


"We have had an open line of communication. We have not received any information from the government on any of their activities," said DeBorde.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have said the other officer, Bryant, falsely submitted a document about drugs found on Harding Street two days after the raid already happened. Prosecutors allege Bryant retrieved some heroin from Goines' car on Jan. 30, then wrote up the drugs as evidence in the Harding Street raid, and submitted to the police department.

However, court records show Bryant admitted to investigators that he never participated in the narcotics investigation at 7815 Harding, and that he admitted to making "a mistake" in the collection of the drugs.

"This is a very tough situation for him as it is with any citizen accused of a crime," said Bryant's attorney Andy Drumheller. "This is a person who, when he was an officer and involved in the Harding Street (case), was not involved in drafting the search warrant, never entered the home, and never fired a weapon."

Bryant's case will eventually move to the same court as Goines.
WATCH: Officers Goines and Bryant released from jail
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Fired HPD officer Gerald Goines was released from jail Friday night on bond after being charged with murder in a deadly botched raid.


FULL VIDEO: District Attorney Kim Ogg announces the Harding Street raid charges
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In a news conference, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced charges seven months after the Harding Street raid that killed a married couple.



CASES LINKED TO GOINES DISMISSED

MORE ON THE JAN. 28, 2019 HPD RAID:
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