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Ex-cop charged with murder

A former Houston police officer has been charged with murder in connection with the deadly January drug raid of a home that killed a couple who lived there and injured five officers, prosecutors announced Friday.

Former Officer Gerald Goines, who was shot in the ensuing gunfight during the Jan. 28 raid, is charged with two counts of felony murder after police accused him of lying in a search warrant about having a confidential informant buying heroin at the home. Goines later acknowledged there was no informant and that he bought the drugs himself, authorities said.

Another former officer, Steven Bryant, was charged with tampering with a government record for allegedly providing false information in a report after the raid that supported Goines' story about a confidential informant.

"We recognize that the community has been violated and I want to assure my fellow Houstonians and other residents of Harris County that we are getting to the truth," Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said at a news conference. "Each day we uncover more and with each fact, we work toward doing justice."

Goines' attorney, Nicole DeBorde, did not immediately return a phone call or email seeking comment. But she has previously said Goines has done nothing wrong.

Andy Drumheller, Bryant's attorney, said in an email that he had not yet seen the charge but he was "troubled that a person who wasn't involved in drafting the affidavit for the search warrant, never fired his weapon and didn't enter the home ... was given a couple of hours notice that he's been charged with a state jail felony on a Friday afternoon and needs to turn himself in."

Both former officers surrendered to authorities Friday and appeared at a bond hearing. Goines was given bonds totalling $300,000 and Bryant was given a $50,000 bond. Drumheller said Bryant planned to post bond.

If convicted, Goines faces up to life in prison. Bryant faces up to two years in state jail.

At a separate news conference, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said the charges against the two ex-officers were a result of his agency's investigation and are an example of how a police department can ask tough questions about its actions.

"We are a department that will vigorously pursue the rule of law, including holding our officers accountable as we did here," Acevedo said.

Killed in the raid were Rhogena Nicholas, 58, and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle, 59.

Family and friends of Tuttle and Nicholas have continuously dismissed allegations the couple sold drugs. Police found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine in the house, but no heroin.



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