Brutal Texas Murder Still Unsolved 4 Years Later, Previously Unreleased Audio of DA surfaces
Article By Maggie Kiely
Almost four years after Hank Johnson was brutally beaten in a Hearne, Texas motel room, an incident that led to his death 11 days later, his family and attorney were told that the investigation has been deemed inactive pending further evidence.
Originally, the investigation of the July 2008 incident was being handled by the Robertson County District Attorney’s Office, but it was turned over to the Brazos County District Attorney’s Office in November 2010 at the request of Johnson’s family attorney, Ty Clevenger.
Although Johnson’s beating took place in Robertson County, the Brazos County District Attorney has jurisdiction to investigate because he died in a Bryan hospital.
According to a letter from the Brazos County District Attorney Bill Turner to Johnson’s mother, Sandi Johnson of Pasadena, the investigation was presented before a grand jury four times, but each time they decided not enough evidence existed to prosecute.
Last November, the state Attorney General’s Office was asked to take a look at the investigation and, in January, Turner got word that “all leads had been explored and the Attorney General’s Office was declining to accept the case,” according to the letter from Turner.
At that point, Turner’s office decided to set the investigation aside until more evidence could be found.
In February, a federal civil jury ruled in favor of Sandi Johnson, who had filed suit against those believed to be involved in Johnson’s death, including Trae Thompson, Ester Martinez, Ralph Martinez, Patricia Nelson and Fredel Miles. In addition, the suit named Hearne Executive Inn owners Mahendra Govind, Kalpesh Govind and John Govind.
The jurors awarded Sandi Johnson $8.6 million and ruled that there was enough evidence to conclude Thompson assaulted Johnson, which resulted in his death.
Despite the civil jury’s ruling, Clevenger said he wasn’t shocked to find out that the grand jury couldn’t find enough evidence for an indictment.
“I’m disappointed, but not necessarily surprised,” Clevenger said. “I knew they were running into a lot of roadblocks.”
What the investigation has been missing is information from key witnesses, Clevenger said, adding that the family is still offering a $15,000 reward for anyone who comes forward with reliable leads.
He’s kept it no secret that the reason he believes that the Robertson County District Attorney John Paschall has been keeping those witnesses from coming forward, which Clevenger asserts is due to personal reasons.
“The problem is how to get key witnesses to come forward and as long as John Paschall is running interference. I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said.
Sandi Johnson said she was “sad” and “sickened” by the district attorney’s decision. She said she believes the trial of her civil lawsuit produced enough evidence regarding her son’s death to warrant an indictment.
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This is the Trae Thompson Deposition taken while in prison for beating a police officer: http://youtu.be/41bHvFfrYKc
Latoshia Boxely Deposition Video played at the Civil Federal Court in Waco Texas: http://youtu.be/MJG5CTN8fFo
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