DA seeks dismissal of 13 Twin Peaks cases, drops charges in 24 others

(Photo by John Carroll)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna announced Wednesday he’s seeking the dismissal of cases against 13 more bikers indicted for engaging in organized crime in connection with the deadly May 2015 Twin Peaks shootout and dropping charges against 24 others who weren’t indicted.

With the dismissals, 128 bikers remain under indictment.

Reyna also announced Wednesday he plans to seek to rescuse his office from prosecuting the case of William Aikin, 27, of Talco.

Earlier this month Reyna announced he was seeking to dismiss charges against 13 indicted bikers and dropping charges against eight who weren’t indicted.

“Again, these dismissals should not be considered an exoneration of the individual defendants or the gangs they belong to,” Reyna said in a statement.

“Nor should these actions be viewed as “folding” or “giving up” by any means. To reiterate, this is an effort to narrow in on those most culpable and avoid expending your precious judicial resources on lower level gang members,” he said.

Reyna is seeking to dismiss cases against Raymond Hawes, 32 of Waco; Daniel Johnson, Edward Keller, Jr., 50, of San Antonio; Jeremy King, 35, of Ranger; Brian Logan, 41, of Midlothian; Robert Nichols, 35, of Hewitt; Anthony Shane Palmer, 43, of Longview; Victor Pizana, 37, of Seguin; Clayton Reed, 32, of Burleson; Sergio Reyes, 47, of Dallas; Gregory Salazar,, 45, of San Antonio, Seth A. Smith, 31, of Waco, and Ricky Wycough, 59, of Richardson.

He’s dropping charges against Steven Walker, 53, of Dime Box; Jimmy Spencer of Magnolia; Bobby Samford, 38, of Rockdale; Julie Perkins, 55, of Summerville; Morgan English, 33, of Brenham; William English, 36, of Brenham; Benjamin Matcek, 30, of Bryan; Jimmy Smith, 62, of Caldwell; Bradley Terwilliger, 30, of Elgin; Justin Waddington, 40, of Killeen; Daryle Walker, 42, of Harker Heights; Royce Vanvleck, 28, of San Antonio; Christopher Eaton, 49, of Seagoville; Brian Eickenhorst, 31, of Hewitt; Arley Harris, 34, of Valley Mills; James Venable, 50, of Mart; Jeremy Ojeda, 39, of Waco; Kevin Rash, 45, of Waco; Richard Kreder, 36, of Waco ,Owen Bartlett, 36, of Waco; Richard Dauley, 50, of San Antonio,
Craig Rodahl, 32, of Waco; Walter Weaver, 57, of Killeen, and Michael Woods, 52, of Nolanville.

Reyna again rejected allegations that he has granted favors to supporters and an allegation contained in a sworn affidavit in which a Waco attorney said one of her clients told an FBI agent investigating Reyna in 2014 that he delivered cocaine for Reyna’s use.

“While it’s been said by my detractors that this is an effort to avoid taking the stand at a hearing, that could not be further from the truth. I would remind the public that I have already taken the stand in two of these matters. Furthermore, the lies, half-truths, and rumors about me and this office have made their way to the public through Biker Gang Defense Lawyer filings and reporting by the media,” he said Wednesday.

“Personally, I am looking forward to a case that warrants a hearing and believe it will end in a favorable ruling for the prosecution. The thing that seems to have been forgotten is that it is not the baseless accusations against me that remain to be seen – but rather the cross examination and questioning of my accusers and witnesses being called on my behalf that hold the real truth behind these accusations,” he said.

But some attorneys who represent bikers still under indictment, and some who represent clients whose cases have been dismissed, were quick to leap on Reyna’s statement Wednesday.

“Once again Abel Reyna has dismissed numerous Twin Peaks cases in order to avoid a hearing during which his former first assistant district attorney, his former executive assistant, attorneys in his office and a former police detective would testify,” a statement sent to KWTX by Arlington attorneys John Stickles and Gary Smart said.

“Is there really any legitimate question as to why he has authorized these dismissals and that by sheer coincidence they just happen to include all the cases set for a hearing tomorrow?,” the Arlington attorneys’ statement said.

The 13 indicted bikers whose cases were dismissed earlier this month included Andrew Stroer, 52, of San Antonio; Marco DeJong, 40, of Marion; William Redding, 37, of Austin; Jorge Salinas, 27, of Lometa; Michael Moore, 44, of Fort Worth; Colter Bajovich, 30, of Gatesville; Boyce Rockett, 30, of Robinson; Clifford Pearce of Waco; Narcisco Luna, 57, of New Braunfels; Jose Valle, 45, of San Antonio;. Diego Obledo, 43, of San Antonio; Mario Gonzalez, 39, of San Antonio, and James Rosas, 50, of Selma.

The eight unindicted bikers against whom charges were dropped earlier this month included Esther Weaver, 49, of Killeen; Ryan Craft, 25, of Austin; Jonathan Lopez, 30, of Austin; Theron Rhoten, 38, of Austin; James Harris of Austin; Bonar Crump of Austin; Juan Garcia, 47, of Austin, and Drew King, 34, of Dripping Springs.

“Earlier this month and on the eve of a hearing into allegations of his political opportunism and cronyism, the dam finally broke and Reyna dismissed numerous cases set for a hearing,” the defense lawyers said.

“Moreover, those dismissals came only after Reyna’s embarrassing and failed attempts to recuse Judge Strother from holding the hearing in the first place.”

The May 17, 2015 shootout left nine bikers dead and 20 more injured.
Officers secured the scene relatively quickly after the gun battle ended.

Police arrested 177 bikers after the melee, all of whom were charged with engaging in organized crime and all of whom were initially ordered held in lieu of $1 million bonds.

On November 11, 2015, a grand jury returned indictments charging engaging in organized criminal activity against 97 bikers and also handed up sealed indictments against nine other bikers who weren’t among those arrested.

In March 2016, a McLennan County grand jury handed up indictments in the cases of some of the 80 bikers who were charged, but not yet indicted in the deadly May shootout at Waco’s Twin Peaks restaurant, as well as several who weren't arrested on the day of the shooting.

Six of the indictments were sealed and named defendants who weren’t arrested at the scene of the shooting.

Only one of the scores of bikers indicted in the shootout has gone on trial
Jacob Carrizal, 35, was accused of directing activities of a street gang, engaging in organized criminal activity with the underlying offense of murder and engaging in organized criminal activity with the underlying offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The case ended in a mistrial in November after jurors told the judge that could not reach a verdict on two of the counts.

(Paul Gately contributed to this story)