U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- In the ongoing investigation of the murder of an innocent couple during a Houston no-knock raid, two police officers have been indicted by a Harris County Grand Jury.
On 28 January, 2019, a no-knock raid was executed at 7815 Harding Street, the residence of a longtime married couple of modest means, Dennis Tuttle and his wife of twenty years, Rhogena Nicholas. Neither of the couple had any significant police record.
After the police broke down the door and shot the family dog, Dennis Tuttle fired back in defense. It was claimed he wounded four police officers with a .357 magnum revolver; that claim is uncertain because of how the crime scene evidence was collected.
The Harris County District Attorney, Kim Ogg, announced felony charges and arrests of retired officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant of the Houston Police Department in August, 2019. The two officers were described as partners. Both retired two months after the Harding Street Raid, while the investigations were ongoing.
The Harris County DA took the unusual step of arresting the accused before a grand jury investigation.
On 15 January, 2020, the Harris County Grand Jury returned indictments for former officers Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant. Goines for felony murder and tampering with documents, Bryant for tampering with documents.
Former Sgt Goines was wounded in the raid, and could not speak to investigators. He gave written responses in the hospital. From his hospital bed, he claimed, at different times, five different confidential informants (CI) had made the drug buys claimed in the no-knock warrant. All five CI told investigators they had not purchased drugs at the house. Then Sgt Goines said he had purchased the drugs himself.
The case for the warrant and the raid unraveled.
The federal investigation resulted in warrants on federal charges of deprivation of rights under color of law and of obstruction of justice, of Goines, and of Bryan for falsification of records. In addition, a neighbor, Patricia Ann Garcia, was arrested and charged for false 911 calls.
KHOU.com reported that Patricia Ann Garcia had a lengthy criminal record of misdemeanors and a felony theft. From khou.com:
She was also convicted of felony theft in 1995. The rest of her long rap sheet is misdemeanors — five thefts, an assault of a family member in 2013, four driving while license suspended, with the last one in 2016 and one possession of marijuana.
The Harris County DA, Kim Ogg, said this grand jury will be dismissed near the end of the January, 2020. The investigation will continue in two more phases, each with a grand jury empaneled for about three months. The next phase should start early in February.
The second phase will concern itself with a review of additional officers and the potential of additional charges being brought.
The third phase, which should commence about the end of May, will be concerned with the shooting at Harding Street. From the press conference, DA Ogg:
“Phase three will be an investigation into the shooting itself and the other members of the squad who were in “the stack”; when the home was entered, the door was breached, and the family killed.”
The third phase of the investigation may answer questions about who fired what firearms, at what time, and at what targets.
Harris County has nearly two dozen investigators working on the case, nearly full time. Harris County hired ten additional investigators for this purpose.
DA Ogg said her office is working hard to investigate all leads to any corruption that is involved with this case, with narcotics squad 15 and its eleven members, or with any other case which is brought to them involving police corruption.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.