Todric Deon McDonald has been in jail for four years since his arrest in the shooting deaths of two cousins at the Pecan Tree Apartments.
Multiple trial dates have been postponed over the years, and the victim’s mothers, Mary Rodriguez and Maria Gonzalez, have grown increasingly frustrated with every delay.
On Friday, 19th State District Judge Ralph Strother gave the mothers some good news. He set Feb. 11 as a trial date for McDonald in the May 2014 deaths of Justin Javier Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty against the 31-year-old McDonald.
“Thank Jesus,” Mary Rodriguez, the mother of Justin Gonzalez, said after the brief status conference. “I feel good that it is finally coming to an end. It has taken so long. It has been frustrating. But we are glad and relieved that we finally have a trial set.”
Part of the delay in bringing McDonald to trial was because his attorneys, John Donahue and Jon Evans, have been involved in a capital murder trial in Bell County, which ended Thursday night.
Another factor was the heavy burden the 154 indicted defendants in the Twin Peaks biker shootout case placed on the overall criminal justice system in the county. That was before McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna dismissed all but two dozen of the cases being handled locally. Special prosecutors appointed after Reyna recused his office are handling three pending Twin Peaks cases.
Justin Gonzalez and Ulysses Gonzalez died from multiple gunshot wounds at the apartment complex in the 2600 block of Grim Avenue.
Jail officials also filed an indecent exposure charge against McDonald in May 2016 after he reportedly called a female jailer to his cell and she reported he was standing there naked and masturbating.
A status conference in the capital murder case of McDonald’s co-defendant, Tony Olivarez, 33, is set for Aug. 17 in Waco’s 54th State District Court. No trial date has been set in Olivarez’s case.