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Prosecutors prevail: Officer's killer to remain in state mental hospital

October 8, 2019 

A man who in 2008 claimed he heard voices telling him to drive his car into two Houston Police officers - killing one of them - will remain confined to a state mental hospital, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg announced Tuesday.

“It is important to the victim’s family, and all of us, that the public remains safe from this violent offender, who has been found to be insane, when an appropriate facility is not available for him here in Houston,” Ogg said.

Hung Truong, 35, was originally charged with manslaughter after he crashed into the officers as they worked at a construction road block along the Katy Freeway.

In 2009, Truong was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the crash in which Officer Gary Gryder was killed. Officer Fred Pyland’s leg was broken.

Following the insanity verdict, Truong was sent to Rusk State Hospital, where he has remained.

Prosecutors have consistently argued successfully that Truong should be kept at the hospital, as there is not an appropriate facility for him in Harris County.

“We applaud the judge’s decision,” Assistant District Attorney Bradford Crockard said. “We believe it is in the best interest of public safety that this man be kept off the streets and in a place where he can get proper treatment.”

Crockard is assigned to the District Attorney’s Office specialized Mental Health Division.

Judge Mark Kent Ellis’s decision comes after a hearing in which Crockard and Truong’s lawyer presented evidence, including live testimony from Truong via closed-circuit television from the hospital.  

The judge ordered Truong be kept at the hospital for up to one year. These type of cases are evaluated annually to determine whether the person meets the criteria for continued in-patient care.

Prosecutors have kept Truong off the streets by repeatedly showing a judge that the public is protected by keeping him at Rusk.