Six former Houston police officers indicted in botched drug raid that left two dead

The 2019 raid came under scrutiny after police alleged Officer Gerald Goines lied in a warrant that an informant had bought heroin at the home.
Image: Houston Crime Scene
Bullet holes on the front entrance of a home, where police officers were shot while serving a warrant on Jan. 29, 2019, in Houston.Godofredo A. Vasquez / Houston Chronicle via AP file

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By Elisha Fieldstadt and Associated Press

A grand jury on Thursday indicted six former Houston police officers with a total of 17 counts for their roles in a botched January 2019 drug raid that left a couple dead.

The Jan. 28, 2019, raid came under scrutiny after police alleged then-officer Gerald Goines, who was shot during the raid, lied in a search warrant that a confidential informant had bought heroin at the home. Goines later acknowledged there was no informant and that he bought the drugs himself, authorities said.

His partner at the time, Steven Bryant, 46, is accused of providing false information in a report after the raid that supported Goines' story about a confidential informant.

Killed in the shooting were 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas and 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle and their dog. Their family and friends have continuously dismissed allegations that the couple sold drugs. Police found small amounts of marijuana and cocaine in the home but no heroin. During the raid, four officers were shot and wounded, and a fifth injured his knee.

Goines had previously been indicted on charges of felony murder and tampering with government records. He was indicted on additional felony counts Thursday. The felony murder charge carries a life sentence.

Bryant had previously been indicted on charges of tampering with government records.

Three former supervisors and a former senior police officer were also indicted on felony charges Thursday.

"The charges stem from allegations that include using false information to get judges to sign search warrants; falsifying time sheets, putting false information in offense reports and falsifying government documents to steal," according to a statement released by Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg's office Friday.

“These indictments reinforce our decision to prosecute the graft, greed and corruption in this troubled Houston Police division,” Ogg said. “We look forward to presenting all of the evidence in a courtroom to a jury and the people of Harris County.”

The six officers were initially charged on July 1.

Goines' attorney said the indictment was inconsequential. "There is no new information here," Nicole DeBorde told NBC News. "This time Ogg's announcement is just another opportunity for her to talk to the press about the same thing — not a shred of new information has come out."

"Mr. Goines has been fully compliant with all court orders and is still under house arrest and undergoing corrective surgeries after being shot in the face during the Harding Street investigation," she added, referring to the raid.

Bryant's attorney, Andy Drumheller, said "the indictments are a formality following the announcement of charges. We are not surprised."

Goines and Bryant were relieved of duty after the shooting and later retired.

The district attorney's Friday statement said that hundreds of defendants arrested by Goines have been notified that there may be problems with their convictions. The defendants have been provided court-appointed lawyers.

The office has already found that two brothers convicted in a case in which Goines was the sole witness were "actually innocent of the charges."

The court of criminal appeals agreed that one of the men be found innocent, and the other case is pending because that defendant pleaded guilty, a representative for the district attorney's office said Friday.