The family of a 27-year-old Hearne man who died almost four years ago after being severely beaten was awarded $8.65 million Tuesday by a jury hearing the civil case in a Waco federal court.
The lawsuit grew out of a July 10, 2008, incident at the Executive Inn motel in Hearne, where Hank Johnson was found severally beaten. He later died at St. Joseph Health System.
Frustrated that criminal charges had not been brought against those believed to be responsible for her son's death, Sandi Johnson filed the civil suit, which also included her daughter-in-law and her two grandchildren as plaintiffs.
Jurors allocated a majority of the money to Hank Johnson 's children, according to court documents.
Ty Clevenger, Sandi Johnson 's attorney, said the only defendant to show up at the trial was Trae Thompson.
From the evidence presented, jurors concluded that Thompson was part of the assault that resulted in Hank Johnson 's death, according to documents.
Seven of the defendants failed to show up for proceedings, Clevenger said.
They included Executive Inn owners Mahendra Govind, Kalpesh Govind and John Govind, and several people the plaintiffs believed were involved in Hank Johnson 's death Ester Martinez, Ralph Martinez, Patricia Nelson and Fredel Miles.
Clevenger said he plans to make sure the defendants who did not show up for the court proceedings are held responsible for their portion of payments.
Thompson is currently incarcerated for an assault on a police officer charge, he said.
Criminal investigations of the case have been turned over to the Brazos County District Attorney's office.
Clevenger said the Johnsons are offering a $15,000 award for any information that would lead to the arrest of someone involved in Hank Johnson 's fatal beating.