Mary Rodriguez and Maria Gonzalez watched Todric Deon McDonald in court Friday afternoon, and their frustration and anger intensified.
McDonald smiled, waved to his family and primped his hair, while appearing to be uncooperative with his attorneys. Rodriguez, Gonzalez and 15 other members from the families of Justin Javier Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez watched from the other side of the courtroom.
Mary Rodriguez is Justin Gonzalez’s mother. Maria Gonzalez is the mother of Ulysses Gonzalez. Their sons died from multiple gunshot wounds more than three years ago.
McDonald, 30, is charged with capital murder in the May 2014 shooting deaths of the two cousins at the Pecan Tree Apartments in the 2600 block of Grim Avenue.
A couple of trial dates for McDonald already have been postponed, and the family learned Friday during a status conference in McDonald’s case that it will be early fall 2018 or this time next year before McDonald’s trial will be held.
Prosecutors have said they intend to seek the death penalty against McDonald if he is convicted in the double murder.
“I feel sad that it is taking so long,” Mary Rodriguez said after the brief hearing. “Todric’s actions in court show he doesn’t care about anybody but himself and has no sympathy for our family.”
Speaking in Spanish, Maria Gonzalez said McDonald’s antics make her concerned for her safety and that of her family.
One reason the trial is being delayed again is because McDonald’s attorneys, John Donahue and Jon Evans, are involved in a capital murder trial in Bell County beginning in April.
The other reason is the heavy burden the 154 Twin Peaks cases have placed on the county’s two criminal court dockets.
“Capital murder cases in which the state is seeking the death penalty, as they are in this case, are always time consuming, and they are never going to trial quickly to protect the defendant, primarily, because it takes so much discovery in this matter,” 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother said. “Then we had the intervening case of all the Twin Peaks bikers cases.
“Those cases, I think anybody who looks at the situation can tell, have consumed all the oxygen, or most of it, in the criminal justice system in this county, and we are struggling to try to move forward with all the cases. This one is just one of them.”
Before the hearing ended Friday, Donahue asked Strother if he would intervene with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office to see if McDonald could be moved from the segregation unit to general population because he said the lights are always on in segregation and it is “taking a toll on him.”
Strother said he was reluctant to get involved in jail operations but said he would “look into it.”
Jail officials filed an indecent exposure charge against McDonald in May 2016 after he reportedly called a female jailer to his cell and she reported he was standing there naked and masturbating.
The capital murder case of McDonald’s co-defendant, Tony Olivarez, 32, was transferred to Waco’s 54th State District Court. A status conference in Olivarez’s case is set for Dec. 1, but no trial date has been set.