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Courthouse security, ballistics discussed at Twin Peaks pretrial hearing

Courthouse security, ballistics discussed at Twin Peaks pretrial hearing


An attorney for Twin Peaks biker Christopher Jacob Carrizal said Friday she will “object strenuously” if courthouse security measures during Carrizal’s trial feature a “display of force” similar to one in Fort Worth during the trial of a Bandido leader.

The topic of courthouse security and other miscellaneous pretrial matters came up Friday as officials prepare for Carrizal’s trial. Carrizal, 35, a Bandido from Dallas, is scheduled to be the first of 155 bikers indicted in the May 2015 Twin Peaks incident to stand trial.

His trial is set to start Sept. 11 in Waco’s 19th State District Court. Judge Ralph Strother directed McLennan County District Clerk Jon Gimble to summon 600 potential jurors to court Aug. 25 to fill out questionnaires to assist in jury selection.

Carrizal’s attorney, Casie Gotro, of Houston, asked Strother about courthouse security and referred to the June murder trial in Tarrant County for Howard Wayne Baker, the Bandidos Fort Worth chapter president.

Gotro said the “display of force” from law enforcement, including extra deputies and state troopers, created an indelible, prejudicial atmosphere around the courthouse, including officers not allowing anyone in the courtroom without a full pat-down search.

Strother said the sheriff’s office has a courthouse security plan for the biker trials but said he doesn’t expect anyone to be stripped searched or patted down.

> MORE: County looks to beef up courthouse security ahead of Twin Peaks trials

Baker, 62, was sentenced to 45 years in prison after his conviction for shooting a member of a rival biker group at a Fort Worth bar in 2014.

Gotro also asked Strother to instruct prosecutors to provide clarification, and perhaps additional ballistics testing, on projectiles recovered from a biker who was shot twice in the head.

She said one projectile was determined to have been fired by a Waco police officer, but the second, which is similar in size and caliber, could not be traced to one of the three rifles police fired that day.

Prosecutor Michael Jarrett said he would look into the matter.

Gotro also asked if prosecutors could pare down their potential witness list. She said it contains 900 names, including 75 experts.

Jarrett said he would try to have the list narrowed by the next status hearing on Aug. 4.

Before the hearing ended, Strother arraigned Carrizal on new charges in a superseding indictment returned in late June. A packed courtroom listened for at least 15 minutes as Jarrett read the repetitious, 13-page document aloud in court.

The superseding indictment charges Carrizal with one count of directing activities of a criminal street gang, a count of engaging in organized criminal activity with an underlying offense of murder and one count of engaging in organized criminal activity with an underlying offense of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The superseding indictment takes the place of the original indictment against Carrizal, which, like the matching arrest warrant affidavits used to jail 177 bikers the evening of the shootout, was identical to the other indictments charging engaging in organized criminal activity with underlying offenses of murder and aggravated assault.

The new charges allege that Carrizal, “as part of the identifiable leadership of a criminal street gang,” directed or supervised the commission of a conspiracy to commit murder and/or aggravated assault, “by members of a criminal street gang, Bandidos.”

The first count carries a punishment range of 25 years to 99 years or up to life in prison.

The second count charges that Carrizal, “with the intent to establish, maintain or participate as a member of a criminal street gang, to wit: Bandidos,” did commit or conspire to commit murder by causing the death of Wayne Campbell, Matthew Smith, Charles Russell, Daniel Boyett, Jacob Rhyne, Richard Kirschner, Richard Jordan II, Manuel Rodriguez and Jesus Rodriguez.

The second count carries a penalty range of 15 years to 99 years or life.

The third count charges that Carrizal, as a member of a criminal street gang, committed aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against 18 bikers injured or wounded in the melee. The count charges that Carrizal used or exhibited a “firearm, and/or a knife or a sharp object and/or a club and/or an asp and/or a whip and/or brass knuckles and/or a chain and/or feet and or/hands and/or an object unknown to the grand jury.”

The third count carries a penalty range of five to 99 years in prison or up to life.

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