Trial Begins: JAN. 12, 1994

The Verdict: Feb. 26, 1994

Emotions were high on this chilly, drizzly day. All 11 defendants were acquitted on charges of murder and conspiracy to murder federal agents. Five were convicted on a lesser voluntary manslaughter charge and two others were convicted on weapons charges. Four, including Clive Doyle, were acquitted of all charges. “I’m very happy to be free today,” Doyle said, weeping and surrounded by defense attorneys in the lobby of the San Antonio federal courthouse. “It’s somewhat of a hollow victory because a lot of our friends are not walking out with us.”

A jury’s verdicts Saturday determined guilt or innocence of 11 Branch Davidians but the six-week trial ended with larger questions unanswered.

After the Trial

Letters to the editor expressed a wide range of opinions in 1993 on the ATF, guns, Christianity and more.    

In the 25 years since that morning in 1993, the public has been bombarded with different versions of the raid, which resulted in the deaths of four ATF agents and six Davidians. Here, the Tribune-Herald tells its story of how the story overtook the storytellers.    


Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.