A Waco judge on Friday threw out a civil lawsuit filed by George Roden against members of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventists in a dispute over the leadership of the group and ownership of a religious encampment near Elk.
In granting a defense motion for summary judgment in the case, 74th State District Judge Derwood Johnson also ordered Roden, a self-styled prophet and former presidential candidate, to pay court costs. The judge rejected a motion from attorney Douglas Martin, who represents the Branch Davidians, to force Roden to pay the splinter group’s attorney’s fees.
During a 90-minute hearing, Martin told the judge that the leadership of the religious group and the ownership of the 77 acres has been in and out of litigation since 1955.
“It is only fair that we ask the question, ‘When will it all end?’” Martin said.
Martin said the suit filed by Roden was similar to a suit resolved in 1979, when 19th State District Judge Bill Logue placed Roden under an order not to refer to himself as the leader of the religious organization or to live on the land.
Roden was released from McLennan County Jail at the end of December, after serving two consecutive contempt of court sentences. In March, U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith Jr. jailed Roden for six month for filing expletive-filled legal motions.
In September, visiting Judge Byron McClellan sentenced Roden to 90 days in jail after finding that he violated Logue’s 1979 orders by living on the disputed property, once called Rodenville and now known as the New Mount Carmel Center.
Roden, who is not an attorney, recently began identifying himself on his legal motions as founder and holder of the first membership card of the American-Texas Bar Association. Martin questioned this practice.
“I am not aware of this association, and if there is one, I doubt very seriously that they would give its first membership to Mr. Roden. However, it seems that Mr. Roden now is holding himself out as an attorney,” Martin said.
Roden said he founded the organization for “pro se attorneys,” or litigants who represent themselves without an attorney.
After the hearing, Roden vowed to appeal Johnson’s ruling to the 10th Court of Appeals in Waco. He was flanked by his wife, Amo, and Thomas Drake, who wore a badge and identified himself as Roden’s personal bodyguard and Rodenville chief of police.
Roden was wounded in November 1987 after eight members of the Branch Davidians, a splinter group that claims Roden forced them from the land at gunpoint, became involved in a shootout with Roden.
Seven of the men, who claimed they were on the land in an attempt to gain evidence of corpse abuse against Roden, were acquitted after a trial in April.
A mistrial was declared in an attempted murder case against Vernon Howell, who is considered the leader of the group, after jurors were unable to reach a verdict. Prosecutors later dismissed the charges against Howell.