Jurors in the Jacob Carrizal trial, the first of 154 Twin Peaks cases to be tried, could be handed the case by noon Thursday.
After 21 days of trial, prosecutors and Carrizal’s defense closed out their cases Wednesday and are prepared to give final jury summations when the trial continues Thursday morning.
Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court and the attorneys worked Wednesday evening on the court’s instructions to the jury, which will be about 40 pages and complex.
It should take the judge from 45 minutes to an hour to read the court’s charge to the jury, and then attorneys on both sides will have up to an hour to give jury summations.
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.
If convicted, Carrizal faces a minimum of 25 years in prison on the first count and a maximum life prison term.
The first count charges that Carrizal, as “part of the identifiable leadership of a criminal street gang, knowingly directed or supervised the commission of or a conspiracy to commit murder and/or aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, by members of a criminal street gang, Bandidos.”
Carrizal, a locomotive engineer for a Dallas railway company, was back on the stand Wednesday, trying to explain to the jury about the biker lifestyle, the Bandidos reputation versus how his chapter operates and why the father of two risked being put back in jail to continue his association with the biker group he calls family.
Carrizal started his testimony Tuesday and spent most of his time on the stand Wednesday under cross-examination from prosecutor Michael Jarrett, who asked repeated questions about the beef between the Bandidos and Cossacks and several incidents involving assaults between the groups around the state.
Carrizal said he wouldn’t lie, commit a crime or lose his integrity for his Bandidos brothers, telling Jarrett that while previous groups of Bandidos might have earned the gang reputation, his chapter is not like that. While Carrizal said they might not dissuade the tough reputation so others won’t mess with them, his group does not commit crimes and does not meet the legal definition of a criminal street gang.
Jarrett asked if he ever assaulted a man in a bar for no reason. Carrizal said he slapped a man while he and his fiancee were having an argument that he thought the man interfered in. He said he and the man are now good friends.
Jarrett asked why the Bandidos and their support groups from Dallas decided to come to the Twin Peaks biker coalition meeting if he thought the Cossacks might be there. He said he was not going to come because of a chance the Cossacks might be there and said those meetings are “sacred ground” where violence is not tolerated. He said they didn’t come to Waco expecting to get into a fight.
Jarrett asked why they didn’t leave after they saw the Cossacks had taken over the patio area. Carrizal said Bandidos don’t run and he didn’t see them until it was too late. Even if he wanted to leave, he couldn’t drive away because the Cossacks surrounded him and the other Bandidos before they had a chance to park their bikes, Carrizal said.
Carrizal disputed Jarrett’s contention that the Bandidos came to Waco as a show of force to show the Cossacks which group controlled the state.
Jarrett asked Carrizal to tell the jury again about how he fired his Derringer twice at a fallen Cossack. Carrizal said he only shot the Cossack after he saw him pointing a gun at him and that he acted in self-defense. The Cossack, Jacob Rhyne, died at the scene.
Jarrett noted that Carrizal lied to an officer about having a gun later. Carrizal explained he was still in shock about what happened and was afraid because he had never been in trouble with the law before.
Jarrett said Carrizal, who was vice president at the time, didn’t back away from the Bandidos after almost losing his father, who was wounded in the shootout. Instead, he was promoted to president, got a new Harley and continued to associate with Bandidos in violation of the terms and conditions of his bond, Jarrett said.
The prosecutor asked Carrizal about a taped phone conversation Carrizal had with another member of the Bandidos while Carrizal was still in jail. The man asked Carrizal how he was doing and Carrizal said, “Just trying to outdo you.”
Carrizal told Jarrett he was just joking, but Jarrett told the jury the man Carrizal was talking to is under indictment in Tarrant County for an incident at a Fort Worth bar in which a man was killed.
“Days after Twin Peaks, where nine people lost their lives, and you told him you are trying to outdo him?” Jarrett asked.
“No, I don’t agree with that,” Carrizal said.
Carrizal later told his attorney, Casie Gotro, on redirect that there is nothing funny about the men who lost their lives at Twin Peaks that day, adding he lost a good brother.
Gotro asked why he continues to hang out with Bandidos, even after she admonished him that he could go back to jail. Carrizal said the Bandidos are the only ones who can understand what he went through that day and that “tightness,” that brotherhood, is important to him.