By John Carroll
WACO, Texas (KWTX) New McLennan County District Attorney Barry Johnson announced Tuesday his office has chosen to not prosecute the remaining 24 Twin Peak cases.
Only one case ever made it trial and ended in a mistrial.
In September 2018 KWTX reported, the total cost of the shootout has run into the solid seven figures and the state, at least so far, has little to show for its effort, all the while realizing the final cost is not yet calculated for the defendants and in some cases may never be.
McLennan County reported $1,317,835.96 in total identifiable costs related to Twin Peaks.
More than 130 lawsuits are pending against local officials
Shots rang out on May 17, 2015 outside the Twin Peaks Restaurant, at Interstate 35 and Loop 340 as motorcycle riders gathered there for what was supposed to be a meeting on legislative issues.
Within seconds nine bikers were dead, more than 20 were injured and shortly thereafter 177 were under arrest, each charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and each held in lieu of a $1 million bond.
The arrest affidavits, all 177 of them, were word-for-word the same and none included mention of probable cause in individual cases.
Challenges from lists of lawyers began piling up, citing violations of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure on probable cause requirements and excessive bond.
As the cases began moving into the courtroom one-by-one, they began to fall apart one-by-one until ultimately of the original 177, only the two dozen remained.
Prosecutors won no accolades, but defense attorneys did
Accolades so far haven’t come for the state when it comes to Twin Peaks legal issues, but the defense statewide is crowing about what the defense bar thinks was an inappropriate response to the incident in the first place.
Two defense lawyers, among the most outspoken of the Twin Peaks defense attorneys on probable cause issues, F. Clinton Broden of Dallas and Casie L. Gotro, of Houston were honored in June by the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association as the co-Percy Foreman Lawyers of the Year for their zealous defense of their Twin Peaks clients.
Broden, who defended Hewitt resident Matthew Alan Clendennen, and Gotro, who represented Christopher Jacob Carrizal, then president of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos motorcycle group, were selected based on their outstanding legal representation in the Twin Peaks case, the organization said.
Curiously Gotro hasn’t been eligible to practice law in the state since Sept, 1, the State Bar of Texas confirms, because her dues, which were due on June 1, have not been paid.
Gotro was scheduled to defend a Bandido whose trial begins later this year in Tarrant County, but has been removed from the case, officials confirmed.
In the end the Twin Peaks account still is tolling for the county and the county’s taxpayers, and for the defendants, both those who still have active cases and those who had their cases dismissed, and then there’s the lawsuits in federal court.
“That, if they go to trial, will be expensive for everyone, the clients, the lawyers and the government,” MacLemore said, “even if there’s no award.”
Even after taking office Johnson indicated he had not determined how he would the cases.
“Without a doubt, the Twin Peaks cases that I’ve inherited, and there are 24 of them, have taken most of our time and emotional energy by going through those cases,” he said in March.
“Certainly out of the 24, I think we are looking at some dismissals.”
It became clear Tuesday, some ended up meaning all cases.