Carrizal

Jacob Carrizal stands outside the McLennan County Courthouse on Thursday.

Staff photo — Jerry Larson

Jurors in the Jacob Carrizal Twin Peaks shootout trial deliberated more than nine hours Thursday without reaching a verdict and were sequestered for the night.

At about 10:45 p.m., Judge Matt Johnson ordered the jury to be sequestered at a hotel and to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Friday. After deciding they would discontinue deliberations, the jurors asked to call their families to let them know they’re OK and to make arrangements for fresh clothes and medication.

Johnson said they could make one phone call in the presence of a bailiff.

County officials say this is the first time in at least three decades a jury in McLennan County has been sequestered.

At 9:15 p.m. Thursday, the jury sent a note to Johnson saying they were deadlocked on all three counts against Carrizal. The note said “Mr. P indicated he has personal experiences with the Cossacks and his opinion won’t change.” The judge instructed jurors to continue deliberations.

Court officials brought the jury dinner at about 8 p.m. as deliberations continued.

About four hours into deliberations, jurors asked if they could watch video from Waco Police SWAT officer Michael Bucher’s dash cam.

Johnson arranged for the video to be played in the jury room so the jury would not have to return to the courtroom.

Carrizal is charged with directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity with underlying offenses of murder and aggravated assault.

The May 2015 shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco left nine bikers dead and 20 others wounded.

The courtroom was almost full Thursday morning as attorneys in the case gave jury summations after Johnson read 57 pages of the court’s instructions.

Carrizal’s mother and father, two brothers and fiancee were seated on the front row. Waco Police Chief Ryan Holt, two assistant chiefs and a number of uniformed officers also were in the courtroom.

Among those at the courthouse waiting for the verdict Thursday night with Carrizal was Clifton “Dozer” Roberts, national Bandidos president.

Carrizal’s father and his brothers also are members of the Bandidos. His father was wounded at Twin Peaks and remains under indictment in the shootout. His uncle was president of the Dallas Bandidos chapter at the time of the Twin Peaks shootout and is also under indictment.

In closing statements, prosecutor Michael Jarrett said the state had proved the Bandidos are a criminal street gang involved in murders, drugs, weapons and extortion.

He also said the state had aptly documented the bad blood between the Cossacks and Bandidos.

“On May 17, 2015, our community here in Waco, Texas, was forever changed by the actions of some people who believe a patch, a piece of clothing, was more sacred than human life,” Jarrett told the jury.

Carrizal’s attorney, Casie Gotro, told the jury the state and its experts are using outdated intelligence that casts all Bandidos as members of a criminal street gang. The state also painted the biker culture and its members as either criminals or cowards, she said.

“Today, you are going to carve out some room for something in the middle, more something I think, I believe, we’re better for as a society,” she said.

Gotro said Carrizal and his Dallas chapter members are not criminals and did not come to Waco looking to pick a fight.

Prosecutors contend the shootout was the culmination of a turf war between the two groups and the Bandidos came to Twin Peaks to prove which group was dominant in Texas.

Gotro said Carrizal and his group were surrounded by Cossacks.

She said Carrizal had no chance to run, even if he wanted to. However, she said he stood his ground and stepped up to help defend his fellow Bandidos when they came under attack.

Jarrett said Carrizal’s claims of self-defense cannot be considered because as a member of a criminal street gang, Carrizal cannot lawfully carry a gun and, therefore, has no legal claim to self-defense.

Carrizal admitted he pulled a two-shot Derringer from his back pocket and shot at Cossack Jacob Rhyne, who he said was aiming a pistol at him.

Testimony showed Rhyne, who was killed, was shot by Waco police using .223-caliber rifles.

Gotro told the jury Waco police saved lives that day and saved Carrizal’s life twice.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna said Carrizal showed less courage than arrogance by leading the group to Waco to assert the group’s control over Texas biker groups.

Gotro said the Bandidos are the victims of police profiling and are hounded because they are different and out of the mainstream. That doesn’t make them criminals, she said.

Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

Recommended for you