A McLennan County grand jury, working a marathon nine-hour session to consider evidence in the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout, returned 106 indictments Tuesday charging bikers allegedly involved in the melee with engaging in organized criminal activity.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said the grand jury will return to consider charges against the other 80 bikers arrested on identical charges following the incident in which nine bikers were killed and 20 were wounded.
The next grand jury session is scheduled for Nov. 18, but Reyna declined to say whether the rest of the Twin Peaks cases will be presented that day.
Reyna said 106 cases were presented to the grand jury Tuesday and 106 indictments were returned. Of those 106 indictments, nine were sealed because the defendants have not been arrested yet, McLennan County District Clerk Jon Gimble said. Because 177 bikers were arrested and nine of the indictments returned Tuesday were for people not arrested May 17, 80 bikers’ cases remain to be considered.
Those indicted were charged with engaging in organized criminal activity, with the underlying offenses alleged to be murder and assault. The charge is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to life in prison or from 15 to 99 years in prison.
“We are not done,” Reyna said. “We still have a lot of work to do. We will continue to do that. My office is dedicated, as is the team, to seeing that justice is done in all those cases.”
The indictments, like the arrest warrant affidavits filed to support the 177 bikers arrested, are identical, alleging the same acts for all 106 indicted Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the charges.
The indictments charge that the defendants engaged in organized criminal activity by intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an individual, and names the nine bikers killed May 17.
The charges allege the defendants killed the victims by “shooting and/or stabbing and/or cutting and/or striking” the victims. The indictments also allege the defendants used or exhibited a deadly weapon, namely “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 the defendant did then and there commit the offense as a member of a criminal street gang,” the indictments allege.
The indictments also charge that the defendants caused bodily injury to those injured, and names 24 bikers who were either shot, stabbed, cut or struck.
When asked about criticism leveled at the McLennan County criminal justice system by bikers, their supporters, their attorneys and many on social media, Reyna said, “I’m not worried about the people on social media. I’m worried about the facts, the law and the evidence.”
For the first time ever, the grand jury met in a newly renovated room in the district attorney’s office on the fourth floor of the courthouse annex, which provides more security than the other grand jury room.
The new grand jury chambers is behind locked doors, unlike the chambers traditionally used for decades on the fourth floor of the McLennan County Courthouse.
Grand juries in McLennan County routinely meet twice a month on Wednesdays. But, because Wednesday is Veterans Day, the grand jury was asked to meet Tuesday.
Had the grand jury not convened until the next regular meeting Nov. 18, it would have been more than six months after the bikers were arrested, which possibly could have set off a flurry of motions from attorneys seeking relief for their clients.
The Code of Criminal Procedure allows defendants who remain in jail for 90 days and who are not indicted the right to ask for personal recognizance bonds or reduced bonds that they can make. Most of the bikers had been freed within the 90 days, so the issue only applied in a few cases.
But attorneys for defendants not indicted within 180 days can file motions asking that all charges be dismissed and that all bond conditions be removed, including curfews, ankle monitors, and travel and association restrictions.
Reyna declined to discuss the possibility of those not indicted Tuesday filing such motions to be released from the conditions of their bonds.
Prosecutors are not precluded from indicting defendants at the next grand jury session or subsequent meetings.
Bikers killed during the shootout include Daniel Raymond Boyett, 44, of Waco; Wayne Lee Campbell, 43, of Fort Worth; Richard Matthew Jordan II, 31, of Pasadena; Richard Vincent Kirschner Jr., 47, of Wylie; and Jacob Lee Rhyne, 39, of Ranger.
Also killed were Jesus Delgado Rodriguez, 65, of New Braunfels; Manuel Issac Rodriguez, 40, of Allen; Charles Wayne Russell, 48, of Tyler; and Matthew Mark Smith, 27, of Keller.
Despite months of failed media attempts to obtain video footage and crime scene photos of the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout that killed nine men and injured 20 others, CNN released video evidence Thursday.