A mistrial was declared Friday in the trial of Jacob Carrizal, the first biker from the May 2015 Twin Peaks shootout to stand trial.
Jurors told 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson they were hopelessly deadlocked after more than 14 hours of deliberation, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial at about 2:50 p.m.
While the jury was whisked away by court officials and not made available to the media, a courthouse source who spoke to the jury after the mistrial was declared said there were never more than six jurors in favor of finding Carrizal guilty on any of the three counts.
In a note to Johnson, the jury initially reported they had reached a unanimous vote on one count, but that vote later changed. The initial decision was for not guilty on the first count, the source said.
Carrizal, 35, president of the Dallas Bandidos chapter, is charged with directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity with the underlying offenses of murder and aggravated assault.
He will remain free on bond despite Carrizal’s admissions during his trial testimony that he violated the terms and conditions of his bond by continuing to associate with Bandidos. He rose from vice president of the Dallas chapter, which was his title at Twin Peaks, to president after the shootout.
The shootout, the culmination of previous violent confrontations between the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs, left nine dead and 20 injured.
While his attorney, Casie Gotro, declared the mistrial a victory, Carrizal hugged his family, fiancee and supporters and gathered with them in a jury room to decompress after the ending of the 23-day trial.
Before declaring the mistrial, the judge asked the presiding juror if he was sure additional deliberation would not result in unanimous verdicts. He said he was sure.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, who made the decision to indict 155 bikers on identical charges after the Twin Peaks shootout, left the courtroom Friday without commenting on the case. Neither he nor his first assistant, Michael Jarrett, returned phone messages later in the day.
The next step in the Carrizal case was unclear Friday. His case remains on the docket, but other Twin Peaks bikers’ cases likely will be tried before Carrizal is tried again. It is possible that he and other bikers will seek a change of venue now that one case has been tried in McLennan County.
Motions are pending seeking the recusal or disqualification of Reyna, which could affect a number of the cases depending on the results of those hearings.
When asked if Carrizal will be retried, Gotro said, “We will see.”
“Given the reaction in the jury room, in my experience, I haven’t seen the district attorney too hot to try cases when the jury spoke as clearly as they just did,” she said. “Jake took the stand, and the jury loved hearing from him. But the evidence was insufficient for a conviction.”
The jury told the judge they were deadlocked Thursday evening, but the judge instructed them to continue. They were sequestered in a hotel for the night and resumed work at 9 a.m. Friday. By 11:30, jurors again said they were deadlocked.
Johnson instructed them to continue again, telling jurors he will have to declare a mistrial if they are unable to come to a decision and that another jury will likely hear the same evidence they did and would be confronted by the same questions they had to consider.
“There is no reason to hope the next jury will find these questions any easier to decide than you have found,” the judge’s instructions said.
Jurors said then that they had come to a conclusion on one count but not the others. They also told the judge that some jurors were willing to wait a month and are not willing to consider a review of the evidence. Jurors also expressed worries about financial repercussions in their personal lives if the trial lasted longer.
Gotro did not ask the judge to declare a mistrial at that time but objected to him giving the jury those instructions.
She said with all the delayed discovery she received from the state and law enforcement agencies during the trial, she thinks the next jury would hear a different set of evidence.
The trial was delayed on several occasions, including once for two days, while the judge gave Gotro time to review evidence supplied to her by prosecutors during the trial that should have been disclosed long before.
In a note Thursday night, the jury foreman reported a juror identified as “Mr. P” told the other jurors he had experience with the Cossacks and would not change his mind because of that prior experience.
That juror has ties to a McLennan County motorcycle shop, which he disclosed on his juror questionnaire in early October. The shop is said to be “Bandidos friendly,” sources said.
Thursday night was the first time a jury has been sequestered in McLennan county in at least 50 years, courthouse officials said.
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