Attorney Robert Callahan called the release of information from the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office a victory.
Callahan withdrew his request Tuesday from the court to compel the prosecutors to release evidence in his client’s case, as required by the Michael Morton Act. Callahan filed the motion last week after saying he had attempted on multiple occasions to get the information against his client, William Aikin, a biker charged in the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout.
The DA’s office was asking defense attorneys in the case to sign a release form related to public disclosures before getting evidence against their clients.
After Callahan filed the request, the DA’s office told him it would provide the requested information without condition, according to the withdrawal form Callahan later submitted.
“I want to make clear that I’m not trying to cause problems or create waves,” Callahan said. “I’m simply trying to make the district attorney follow the law and do the right thing. Now that that’s happened, we’re going to move on to the next phase.”
A hearing date had been set for Jan. 15 before Judge Matt Johnson of Waco’s 54th State District Court.
Some of the information included in the discovery evidence, according to court documents, includes witness statements; photos from the scene; surveillance footage from Don Carlos, Twin Peaks and in-car footage; arrest reports; cellphone video; Texas Rangers reports and other Texas Department of Public Safety reports; notes from the convention center; phone records; autopsy reports and more.
The Michael Morton Act also was referenced in November at a news conference in which attorney Susan Anderson also mentioned the conditional release of evidence.
The Legislature passed the Michael Morton Act in 2013 after a Texas man was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years for the murder of his wife because prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence in his case. The law says prosecutors must give defense attorneys access to discovery evidence or produce the evidence, without conditions, “as soon as practicable after receiving a timely request from the defendant.”
Callahan said now that the information has been released, he is in the investigation phase of his case.
“A lot of time has been wasted while we’ve fought this battle, and now we’ve got to try and catch up,” Callahan said.