Testimony in the trial of Jacob Carrizal — the first biker to be prosecuted in the Twin Peaks shootout — ended Monday as it began, with Carrizal’s attorney alleging the state’s repeated late disclosure of evidence she already has requested is unjust, “criminal and intentional.”
Carrizal’s attorney, Casie Gotro, has lodged numerous complaints for months about prosecutors not providing her with evidence in the case despite their continual assertions that everything has been provided to her or does not exist.
On Monday, Gotro asked the judge to dismiss the case because of prosecutorial misconduct and alleged prosecutors willfully have hidden evidence from her that she is entitled to and requested long ago.
Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court denied her motion to dismiss the charges, but ordered the state to turn over the latest round of statements, which were not provided to the state by local, state and federal authorities because they alleged the information was privileged because they were trying to protect confidential sources.
One of the statements was brought to the judge’s attention Friday morning. He listened to it in his chambers and ordered the state to supply it to Gotro by 5 p.m. Friday.
That discovery was made while the trial was on a two-day break so Gotro would have time to review another round of statements that were not turned over to her until three weeks into the trial.
Johnson ordered a hearing for 8 a.m. Monday to try to sort through the discovery conflicts, meeting with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Frazier and Greg Gloff and an attorney for the Department of Public Safety in his office. The judge ordered all statements turned over to Gotro, despite unwillingness by the DPS to waive its privilege claim.
The judge gave Gotro 45 minutes Monday morning to review the statements before she gave a brief opening statement and started calling defense witnesses.
Before Gotro started her break, she asked the judge to dismiss the charges based on the claims of prosecutorial misconduct. She has not asked for a mistrial.
Gotro argued that District Attorney Abel Reyna and prosecutors Michael Jarrett and Amanda Dillon were in a room when a Cossack provided exculpatory evidence she had not been provided. She said they were aware of the statements and willfully failed to divulge the information to the defense.
Jarrett countered that he and Reyna left the room because they knew the man was lying. However, Gotro argued that the state has an obligation to provide the materials to the defense and does not get to decide what to turn over based on whether they think someone is credible or not.
As the bickering between Gotro and Jarrett intensified, Gotro stormed out of the courtroom during a break, yelling over her shoulder that the prosecutors’ actions are “criminal and intentional. It’s criminal.”
After the jury was recessed Monday evening, Gotro continued her objections to the state’s late discovery practices. She said she would have changed the way she cross-examined a number of the state’s witnesses had she known of the Cossack’s statement that the whole beef with the Bandidos had nothing to do with the “Texas” bottom rocker patch on the back of their vests.
The state contends that the Bandidos are the controlling biker group in Texas and other groups must get their permission if they want to wear the “Texas” patch on their vests.
Prosecutors have said the Cossacks were challenging the Bandidos by wearing the rocker patches without permission, causing several skirmishes around the state between the groups before the May 17, 2015, shootout at the former Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco that left nine dead and 20 injured.
Jarrett assured Gotro on Monday that if she wants to cross-examine any of the state’s witnesses again, they will be available to her.
Before the jury came in Monday morning, the defense asked the judge to grant an instructed verdict of not guilty, saying the state failed in its burden to tie Carrizal to the murders of nine bikers as alleged in the indictment.
Gotro called Waco police Detective Jeff Rogers, the department’s street gang investigator, as her first witness.
Rogers said he considers the Bandidos a criminal street gang, but he could not list any crimes Carrizal has been involved in before he got to Twin Peaks. Gotro asked what crime he committed at Twin Peaks, and Rogers said he sent text messages to members to rally in Waco, he told them to bring their guns and leave their women at home and he came here knowing there was high potential for a fight with the Cossacks.
Gotro asked Rogers about interviews he had with a Cossack named Mark White in April and May of 2015. Rogers said White was arrested before for unlawfully carrying a weapon and Rogers told White he would personally take his case to the DA and let him know he was cooperating with police.
Rogers said in the weeks leading up to the May 2015 meeting at Twin Peaks, he became concerned that there would be violence because of previous conflicts between the two groups, including one in Lorena.
On the day of the biker meeting at Twin Peaks, he and other officers from Waco and the DPS went to Twin Peaks in hopes that an obvious police presence would deter any violence.
He said the hair stood up on the back of his neck with he saw that the patio area had been taken over by a horde of Cossacks, who were not members of the biker coalition meeting that day.
Gotro asked why he didn’t take some action to break up the meeting if he felt so strongly that something bad was about to happen.
“I don’t have an answer for that, ma’am,” Rogers said.
Rogers said he saw the Bandidos ride in and the Cossacks streamed from the patio area and surrounded them before they had time to park their bikes. He said he saw a Cossack push someone, saw a fist raised in the air and go downward and then heard the first shot, which he said came from the “middle of the pack.”
He got out of his car because he thought it was struck by several bullets, but it was the car next to his, he said.
Under cross-examination from Jarrett, Rogers said White, like Carrizal, is charged with engaging in organized criminal activity from the Twin Peaks shootout and he deserves to go to prison, also.
Jarrett asked Rogers if he had the authority to get a warrant before the Twin Peaks incident, to shut down the restaurant that day or to run the bikers out of town. The detective said no.
In other defense testimony Monday, Gotro called Yvonne Reeves, whose son, Richard Jordan Jr., a Cossack, was killed at Twin Peaks. Her husband, Owen Reeves, also a Cossack, called her and told her her son had been shot at Twin Peaks, she said, frequently becoming overcome with emotion.
Reeves said she was on her way to the meeting at Twin Peaks but was delayed by some friends .
She said the Cossacks were not members of the biker confederation and she did not know why they were going to the meeting .
She said after her husband called, she went to Twin Peaks to try to find her 31-year-old son. However, police held her back and she spent most of the day in the shopping center parking lot trying to get news about her son. She said the next time she spoke to her husband, he was calling from jail after he had been treated at a hospital because he was struck in the head and had convulsions.
Defense testimony resumes at 9 a.m. Tuesday.