Twin Peaks defendant asks for postponement of Aug. 27 trial

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An attorney for the next Twin Peaks shootout defendant scheduled for trial asked a judge Friday to postpone his trial date, set now for Aug. 27.

Judge Ralph Strother of Waco’s 19th State District Court, who was perturbed by the 11th-hour request, took the matter under advisement and set another hearing for biker Tom Modesto Mendez for Aug. 13.

Mendez, the Bandidos San Antonio chapter president, is represented by Mark Metzger, of Galveston. Mendez is charged with riot, a first-degree felony, in the May 2015 biker brawl at Twin Peaks that left nine dead and 20 injured.

Metzger and prosecutors Staci Scaman, Hilary LaBorde and Gabrielle Massey conferred with Strother in his chambers before Strother emerged to announce the defense requested a continuance in the 3-year-old case.

“I am not granting this motion at this time,” Strother said. “I’m not saying I’m not going to grant it and I’m certainly not saying that I am. There is the possibility that the defendant will be retaining other counsel or additional counsel, and until we clear some of these matters up, I am going to hold this motion in abeyance until the next hearing and we see where we are. I am not happy about the developments. These cases have been pending for three years now, and we come up on eve of trial and we have these developments. I am not pleased.”

Metzger said Friday that Mendez rejected an offer from prosecutors for a 25-year prison sentence in exchange for his guilty plea to murder or a 30-year term for riot.

 

Mendez is set to be the second Twin Peaks defendant to stand trial. The first trial, that of Jacob Carrizal, the Bandidos Dallas chapter president, ended in a hung jury and mistrial in November.

In his motion presented to the court Friday, Metzger asked for a trial postponement, among other reasons, because he says the test results of DNA taken from a black sweatshirt Mendez reportedly wore at Twin Peaks and a DNA swab from Mendez have not been given to the defense through the discovery process.

“Depending on the nature of the DNA evidence, Mr. Mendez will need time to consult with defense counsel and potentially an expert as to how to proceed,” the motion states. “Defense counsel believes the state’s theory of the case is that this sweatshirt is essential in identifying Mr. Mendez during the alleged riot.

“Defense counsel’s theory of the case is that the individual who wore this sweatshirt was not Mr. Mendez, therefore the DNA evidence from this sweatshirt is exculpatory.”

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TOMMY WITHERSPOON
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wacotrib.com




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