Tue
09
Aug
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Judge: Prosecutor has 'substantial' stake in Waco biker case

WACO — A federal judge has questioned whether the Texas district attorney prosecuting bikers arrested in a deadly melee outside a Waco restaurant has a conflict of interest because he's also being sued for his handling of the shootout that left nine people dead.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks also said it "makes one wonder" why 154 bikers were indicted following the May 2015 shootout outside the now-closed Twin Peaks restaurant, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported Sunday. Sparks did not ask attorneys to respond to that comment during a June hearing in Austin, according to a transcript obtained by the newspaper.

"It's just so far from all of the experiences I've had. It's just staggering to think of the problems," said Sparks, referring to the number of people indicted.

Tue
09
Aug
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Bikers say at hearing DA Reyna should be disqualified from Twin Peaks cases

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna told former Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman that he could stand in front of a jury and prosecute 177 bikers arrested after the Twin Peaks shootout, but it was ultimately Stroman’s decision to arrest them all, Stroman and Reyna testified Monday.

 

Reyna, Stroman and other Waco police officials testified at a hearing in Waco’s 54th State District Court in which bikers Ray Nelson, a Cossack, and Matthew Clendennen, a Scimitar, sought to disqualify Reyna from prosecuting their cases.

Mon
18
Jul
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Lawyers for bikers charged in Waco shooting want DA removed

WACO, Texas (AP) — Two attorneys defending bikers charged in last year’s shooting outside a Waco restaurant that left nine dead say the local district attorney should be removed from the case.

KWTX-TV in Waco reported Monday that the attorneys allege McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna has a financial incentive to pursue cases against the bikers. They argue Reyna is pressing a flawed prosecution because he’s personally named in a civil lawsuit filed by the bikers.

They are calling for a special prosecutor to handle the cases.

Reyna has declined requests for comment.

The May 2015 shooting outside a Twin Peaks restaurant left 20 people injured. More than 150 people have been indicted on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity, a felony.

Fri
15
Jul
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Two more bikers file suit over Twin Peaks arrests

Two more bikers arrested after the Twin Peaks shootout in Waco filed a civil rights lawsuit Friday, claiming they were improperly arrested with no evidence of wrongdoing and denied due process.

Christopher Eaton and Owen Bartlett, both members of the Los Pirados Motorcycle Club, bring the total of bikers who have filed civil lawsuits to 15.

The lawsuit lists Eaton as a Dallas County resident and says Bartlett is from McLennan County and names McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman, Waco police Detective Manuel Chavez and an unnamed Department of Public Safety agent as defendants.

All defendants previously have declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Wed
15
Jun
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Court of Criminal Appeals lifts Twin Peaks gag order

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals lifted the gag order Wednesday initially issued by a McLennan County state district judge in the case of a biker arrested in the Twin Peaks shootout.

In a one-line opinion, written by Justice Cheryl Johnson, the CCA said, “We deny mandamus relief and withdraw our order staying the proceedings.”

The opinion lets stand an order by the Tenth Court of Appeals that overturned the gag order on Aug. 7, 2015, in the case of Matthew Clendennen, a member of the Scimitars Motorcycle Club who was arrested at Twin Peaks on May 17, 2015.

The intermediate appellate court held that 54th State District Judge Matt Johnson abused his discretion when he limited pretrial publicity in Clendennen’s case before the court issued a gag order on June 30, 2015, which remained in effect until Wednesday.

The CCA intervened at Reyna’s request on Aug. 13, 2015, ruling that the 10th Court’s ruling be stayed until it made a ruling.

Wed
15
Jun
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Texas' Top Criminal Court Blocks Waco Biker Case Gag Order

Texas' highest criminal court has reversed a gag order in the case of one of the nearly 200 bikers arrested after a shooting last year outside a Waco restaurant that left nine dead.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals released the opinion Wednesday, a year after Matthew Clendennen filed a lawsuit against the city of Waco, the local district attorney and the Waco police officer who drafted a warrant for Clendennen's arrest.

The gag order, requested by prosecutors, barred parties in the case from speaking about it publicly. Sixteen news organizations, including The Associated Press, also asked the court last summer to overturn the order.

Prosecutors and Waco's police spokesman have repeatedly cited the gag order to not comment on the investigation. Neither immediately returned a call for comment Wednesday.

Sun
05
Jun
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3 more bikers file civil rights lawsuits over Twin Peaks shootout arrests

Three more bikers arrested after the Twin Peaks shootout in Waco filed a civil rights lawsuit Friday, claiming they were improperly arrested and denied due process.
Theron Rhoten, Jonathan Lopez and Ryan William Craft, all members of the Vice Grip Motorcycle Club from Travis County, bring the total of bikers who have filed civil lawsuits to 13.
 

Fri
20
May
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3 more bikers file federal civil suits over Twin Peaks arrests

Three bikers arrested after the Twin Peaks shootout in Waco have joined the ranks of seven others who are suing McLennan County, Waco and state officials, alleging civil rights violations.

Bradley Terwilliger, of Bastrop County, and Benjamin Matcek and Jimmy Dan Smith, both of Burleson County, are seeking unspecified damages in their lawsuit, filed Friday in a Travis County federal court.

Like others before it, the lawsuit names McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna, Waco Police Chief Brent Stroman, Waco police Detective Manuel Chavez and an unnamed Department of Public Safety agent as defendants.

Reyna did not return phone messages left at his office Friday.

Thu
19
May
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National Council of Clubs Announces Unified Protest Against Motorcycle Profiling

The National Council of Clubs held a press conference at Shamrock Cycles in Austin, Texas on May 17, 2016, the 1st Anniversary of the tragedy in Waco, to announce a National Protest Against Motorcycle Profiling and Discrimination to take place at the ROT Rally in Austin, June 9-12.

 

Representatives from motorcycle clubs across the country met in Austin to present a unified voice in defense of the community.  Motorcycle profiling is a national epidemic impacting motorcyclists coast to coast.  There is a well established pattern of evidence proving law enforcement consistently targets individuals for no other reason than their appearance or membership in a motorcycle club.

 

Wed
18
May
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Lawyer: Waco prosecutor should be removed from biker case

The district attorney overseeing the prosecution of more than 150 bikers charged in a melee in Waco last year should be disqualified from the case because he took charge of police officers trying do their jobs that day, a Houston lawyer contends.

 

A motion filed in court Tuesday - the one-year anniversary of the May 17, 2015, melee that left nine people dead - asked that McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna be removed from the case, along with two assistants, Michael Jarrett and Mark Parker.

 

Their actions made them potential witnesses who could be subpoenaed to testify at trial, according to the motion filed by lawyer Abigail Anastasio of Houston.

Reyna did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment on the motion before state District Judge Matt Johnson.

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