WACO, Texas - McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna announced Wednesday morning that his office is dismissing 13 cases connected to the deadly Twin Peaks shootings of May, 2015.
Ten of the cases had defendants who were expected at hearings Thursday.
Cases dismissed Wednesday: Raymond Hawes, Daniel Johnson, Edwared Keller, Jr., Jeremy King, Brian Logan, Robert Nichols, Anthony Shane Palmer, Victor Pizana, Clayton Reed, Sergio Reyes, Gregory Salazar, Seth A. Smith, and Ricky Wycough
The McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna announced Wednesday they dismissed 13 more Twin Peaks cases.
The DA's office also dropped the investigations against 24 more men.
This is the second round of dismissals filed by Reyna's office this month.
On February 7th, judges signed off on a total of thirteen dismissals.
Later that day , several defense attorneys held a press conference to discuss the dismissals.
As you remember, more than 170 people were arrested after the deadly shootings.
During the Carrizal Trial, there was also controversy involving a juror who knew one of Carrizal's rival bikers.
One judge from the 54th State District Court has already been recused from two separate upcoming biker trials.
On multiple occasions, hearings have been requested to disqualify District Attorney Abel Reyna for taking part in the biker trials. Reyna was also accused of taking part in illegal activity, including handling cocaine. He denied those allegations.
The deadly shooting in 2015 resulted in over 170 people being arrested. It was a shootout between the Bandidos and the Cossacks - two rival biker gangs.
More than 100 bikers were charged after nine people died and over a dozen were injured.
McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna issued the following statement regarding those dismissals:
"Earlier today, my office filed 13 motions to dismiss, 2 voluntary recusals, and 8 Refusals for
Prosecution on cases stemming from the violence that occurred at Twin Peaks. As stated in
each of the motions, “While probable cause for the Defendant’s arrest and prosecution remains,
based on continued investigation, the State is exercising its prosecutorial discretion in dismissing
this matter in order to focus its efforts and resources on co-defendants with a higher level of
culpability.” These dismissals should not be considered an exoneration of the individual
defendants or the gangs they belong to."
"As District Attorney, my sole driving force is to see that justice is served for the good people of
McLennan County. While the arrest and indictments of these individuals was soundly based in
the law, I have made the decision to dismiss these matters in order to focus our attention on
defendants even more culpable in the Twin Peaks violence."
"This effort to narrow our focus has been ongoing since the trial that took place last fall. While
the result of the trial was not what we desired, the information gleaned through trial was
invaluable in our continued investigation of these matters."
"This decision should not be viewed as “folding” or “giving up” by any means. Rather, this is an
effort to narrow in on those more culpable without expending your precious judicial resources on
lower level gang members. I firmly believe this strategy can still achieve the impact of the
message that our community will not tolerate gang violence in any form."
"We will continue to review and investigate the pending cases. It is entirely possible that other
cases may require similar action while others will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
As the public is aware, we have been awaiting evidence in the possession of the U.S. Attorney’s
office in San Antonio. We have requested this evidence, but will not be permitted to view this
evidence until the conclusion of the federal trial sometime in March. We anticipate that this
long awaited evidence will be released within 60 to 75 days. Once received, we will commit to
making additional decisions in each of the Twin Peaks cases within 30 days from receipt of that
evidence. Each of those decision will be with the original objective in mind: to see that justice
is brought to the individuals and groups responsible for these killings."
"While outlaw motorcycle gang defense attorneys and their sympathizers may say that this is an
effort to avoid a hearing, this is simply not the case. The continued abuse of the criminal justice
process and repeated attempts at political smear tactics are nothing more than an attempt to vote
me out of office, avoid justice and distract from the events of May 17th, 2015."
"I have seen and heard the allegations made against me. Let me be clear, I have NEVER shown
favoritism to friends or supporters. I have followed my oath to do the right thing at every turn.
I do not use, nor have I ever used drugs and in fact, sit on the Cenikor board dealing with drug
and alcohol abuse. I have no higher political ambition than to serve each of you as the District
Attorney of McLennan County. I was born here. I grew up here. I live here. I will give my
all to make sure McLennan County is a better place for our children to grow up. McLennan
County justice is not just a passion for me; it is in my blood, my soul and heart. Justice is not a
political game. It is at the heart of everything we do. I will not be deterred by the political
opportunism of my opponents and their ilk. We will push back and in the end, we will prevail.
With God as my witness, justice will be served in this matter."
- Abel Reyna
Defense Attorney's say Reyna dismissed the cases to avoid a hearing that would reveal corruption.
"You know the way these cases have been handled appears to me to be a purely political situation, I think Mr. Reyna tried to use these events to further his political career," said John Stickels, Defense Attorney representing Jeremy King.
Reyna argues going through these cases takes time, and that's why his office is working to weed out unnecessary spending to prosecute men he calls "lower level gang members."
"Mr. Reyna has been saying for a long time that he's looking forward to a lot of things on his actions, his action shows that that's just not true," said Stickels.
The DA's office says it's possible more cases will get dismissed in the near future.
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