Trib staff writer Cassie L. Smith’s eye-opening story on one month of increased security at McLennan County Courthouse costing more than $400,000 in overtime pay for the first Twin Peaks shootout trial spurred outrage from readers via our Trib Facebook page. The expenses bring the county’s total costs for the deadly 2015 biker melee to nearly $1 million. A sampling of comments on the county expense and the trial itself, repeatedly hampered by eruptions over timely release of discovery evidence to the defense attorney:
Terri Lynn Brown: McLennan County and the City of Waco bit off WAAAAAYYYY more than they could chew with this event! I said when this originally happened in 2015 that the citizens of Waco would be paying through the nose.
Rhonda Taylor: This was a stupid waste of money! Who are all these fences and canopy outside the courthouse protecting folks from? The [supposed] crowd of bikers standing outside every day threatening everybody who walks in and out of the building? Paleez! All for show. Ca-ching!
Lee Denton: Why are we paying so much overtime for security? What’s the threat? This is absurd and should be ended immediately!
Dave Oakley: It’s just a show by [District Attorney Abel Reyna]. How do you vote someone like him in? Taxes are going to rise because of his fiasco.
Jim Tugs Garrett: Just wait till all the lawsuits start over false arrest and imprisonment. Never mind the lawsuits for families of those killed and wounded. Waco could be looking at bankruptcy if any of those who were arrested can prove law enforcement pulled anything that led up to the shooting.
Albert Stahl: In more than 30 years, the only use of a deadly weapon on the courthouse grounds was caused by one of the current prosecutors, Michael Jarrett, who discharged an associate’s weapon through his window and hit an adjacent wall. Can we just assign a deputy to watch him for less money?
Jonny Glue: You would think that after 30 months to prepare, plus hand-picking the first defendant, the Waco District Attorney’s Office would have their act together. It seems to me that they are intentionally withholding information that benefits the defense and makes its case harder to prove. If this is the case, they need to be charged with obstruction of justice and contempt of court for failing to provide the evidence and for failing to follow the judge’s orders.
Paula Carroll Swann: The state is playing games with people’s lives and I hope these jurors know that.
Sherri Bowlin Phillips: It’s not that [defendant and Dallas Bandidos president Jake Carrizal] “defended himself” [during the 2015 shootout] but that he — rather they [the Bandidos] — were there to cause trouble in the first place. Defending yourself is fine. Causing problems and then having to “defend yourself” is a problem.
Alvin James: Carrizal is being thrown under the bus by the DA in order to pad his resume. The Cossacks are the real criminals here, and every last one of them [needs to be] rounded up and sent to Guantanamo.
Moneque Townsend: I am surprised the judge has not thrown the whole case out. The DA is withholding evidence that may or may not exonerate Mr. Carrizal.