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Former HPD cop Gerald Goines released on bond for felony murder charges in deaths of Houston couple

The ex-undercover officer who led a deadly no-knock raid last January was surprised by the charges, according to his attorney.

HOUSTON — Gerald Goines, the ex-Houston police officer who led the controversial no-knock raid on Harding Street, has been charged with two counts of felony murder, as KHOU 11 Investigates reporter Jeremy Rogalski first reported.

His attorney, Nicole DeBorde, said Goines was surprised by the charges.  

Goines surrendered Friday afternoon and his bond was set at $150,000 on each charge. Goines made bond Friday evening. 

He is required to wear a GPS monitor and won't be allowed to have weapons or leave Harris County.

Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas were shot to death in the Jan. 28 botched drug raid in southeast Houston. 

Goines and four other officers were injured in the chaotic shootout. 

RELATED: 'You lie, you die' | HPD undercover cop lied about drug buy that led to deadly raid, Chief Acevedo says

“We have not seen a case like this in Houston. I have not seen a case like this in 30 plus years of practicing law," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said Friday during a press conference.

Ogg says she wants to tell the Tuttle and Nicholas families how sorry they are for the loss of their lives. 

Credit: HPD
Steven Bryant's mug shot

Former Officer Steven Bryant, who was involved with the Harding Street warrant, is charged with second-degree tampering with a government document. His bond was set at $50,000. He will also wear a GPS monitor and can't leave Harris or Fort Bend counties.

"HPD’s responsibility is to protect and serve. The overwhelming number of police officers do that every day, often at the expense of their safety." Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a statement. "We hope and pray that the community and police will continue to work together for the safety of our city.”

Prosecutors are now pouring over 14,000 cases related to the officers. Since the news broke, the entire HPD narcotics division has been under a microscope. Ogg is looking at their work now to see if other cases have been impacted across Houston.

Ogg's office has dismissed dozens of pending cases dismissed and attorneys have even been notified in cases that have already closed. All the while, the district attorney pledges she's not done.

"We recognize that our duty is to the people of this county. That while today the focus is on Gerald Goines and Steven Bryant, there may be more to the story," Ogg said.

The 14,000 cases include 2,200 drug cases linked to the two former HPD officers now facing criminal charges.

However, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo believes it's not a department wide problem.

"We've been looking at a lot of cases and we have yet to see it again, any evidence of any systemic issues," Acevedo said.

But he anticipates more charges will be filed, at least against Goines.

Although charges are up to the district attorney, Houston police say it's all coming from their own investigation. The district attorney just got funding to hire ten new prosecutors and investigators to work on the mountain of a review.

The day after the raid, Acevedo described Goines, who had been shot two previous times as an undercover cop, as a "big teddy bear with tremendous heart and courage." 

In a Friday news conference, the chief changed his tune about Goines and Bryant but defended the other officers involved in the raid.

"I think we were all taken for a ride by two of them, but I still believe those officers that went in there acted in good faith on behalf of this community," Acevedo said. "I still think they're heroes."

Credit: KHOU
Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas were killed during a drug raid in southeast Houston.

In the Harding Street warrant, Goines claimed a confidential informant bought black tar heroin at the home of Tuttle and Nicholas the night before the raid. He claimed the informant saw a lot more heroin and a 9mm pistol inside the home.

In a search of the home after the shootout, officers didn't find any heroin or 9mm pistol. 

The only drug found in the house was marijuana.

The informants later told investigators they never bought drugs from Harding Street.

Ogg says it's not clear why Goines and Bryant allegedly lied on the warrant. 

“Motive is something we don’t know. How can we know what lies in hearts and minds?”

Attorneys representing Nicholas' family recently claimed a private investigation found she was shot from outside of her home.

They also said a neighbor has cell phone video of two gunshots fired inside the home 30 minutes after the shootout ended.

"Somebody took a gun at some point, likely long after Dennis Tuttle was dead -- at least based on physical evidence -- and went to a wall and fired two shots into a wall," attorney Mike Doyle alleged. "That's also been documented by physical chemical tests."

Doyle filed a petition with probate court requesting depositions from the officers to address these findings.  Read the entire petition here.

KHOU 11 Investigates examined 109 other drug cases Goines filed based on a search warrant between 2012 and present day. In every one of those cases in which he claimed confidential informants observed guns inside, no weapons were ever recovered, according to evidence logs Goines filed with the court.

The District Attorney's Office is reviewing more than 2,000 cases involving Goines and dozens of charges were dismissed.

They are also reviewing 800 cases involving Bryant, the other HPD officer involved with the warrant. 

RELATED: 27 more cases connected to Harding Street raid cops to be dismissed

RELATED: Sloppy police work, evidence issues led to dismissals in Gerald Goines’ past cases

At one point, the DA's office threatened legal action against HPD if it didn't turn over documents related to the deadly raid. The documents involved information on all HPD informants dating back five years ago to now.

The two agencies eventually reached an agreement for the remaining records to be provided.

The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the raid and Harris County.

Bryant and Goines were relieved of duty during the investigation and later allowed to retire.

The raid led to multiple policy changes within the Houston Police Department and an FBI civil rights investigation.


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