A retired state district judge from Bosque County was appointed Monday to preside over the examining trial of a Hewitt biker — and potentially 19 others — arrested in the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout.
Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield, administrative judge of the 26-county 3rd Judicial Region, confirmed Monday that he appointed Judge James Morgan to preside over the examining trial of Hewitt resident Matthew Clendennen, which is set for Aug. 10.
Stubblefield said his order also gives Morgan authority to hear any of the 19 other cases involving bikers seeking examining trials to challenge whether there was sufficient probable cause for their arrests after the shootout that left nine dead and 20 wounded.
The judicial appointment became necessary after senior Judge Joe Carroll, of Bell County, recused McLennan County Justice of the Peace W.H. “Pete” Peterson two weeks ago from presiding over Clendennen’s examining trial.
One other biker, Drew David King, of Dripping Springs, also has filed a motion to recuse Peterson, and Peterson said Monday he will allow Morgan to hear King’s case.
Peterson said he is planning to preside over the 16 other examining trials that are scheduled for his court unless any of the parties in those other cases object or file motions to recuse.
Justice of the Peace David Pareya, of West, has two examining trials set in his court, and Waco Municipal Judge Chris Taylor has one set.
Clendennen’s attorney, Clint Broden, of Dallas, complained in his motion to recuse Peterson that the former Department of Public Safety trooper set unreasonably high bonds and said he was doing so to “send a message” about the gravity of the incident.
He also complained that Peterson signed off on what Broden and others have called “cookie-cutter, fill-in-the-blank warrants” for the arrests of 177 bikers on identical engaging in organized crime charges.
Only three of the 177 bikers arrested remain jailed, and they have charges from other counties pending.
Besides Clendennen and King, the bikers who have requested examining trials include: Daniel Pesina, San Antonio; Mitchell Bradford, Gordon; Juventino H. Montellano, San Antonio; Joseph Ortiz, San Antonio; Richard R. Donias, San Antonio; Lawrence Garcia, San Antonio; John Guerrero, San Antonio; and Tom M. Mendez, San Antonio.
Also, John R. Wilson, Waco; Clayton D. Reed, Burleson; Matthew R. Folse, Dallas; Morgan J. English, Brenham; William H. English, Brenham; James A. Venable Jr., Mart; Royce Van Vleck, San Antonio; William C. Aikin, Talco; Jimmy Lee Pond, Austin; and Thomas P. Landers, Georgetown.