WACO, Texas – A judge on Friday postponed the first trial over a 2015 Central Texas gunfight involving rival motorcycle gangs that left nine people dead, 20 others hurt and more than 150 bikers charged.
The trial for Christopher Jacob Carrizal, a member of the Bandidos motorcycle group, had been set for May 22. But state District Court Judge Ralph Strother on Friday postponed the trial after a new attorney brought onto the case indicated she couldn't be ready in time, the Waco Tribune-Herald reported (http://bit.ly/2nng4Pu ). A new trial date wasn't set.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys declined to comment, saying Strother had placed them under a gag order.
After delaying the trial, Strother released a panel of 186 potential jurors who had reported to fill out questionnaires for the trial.
Earlier during the hearing, Strother had been visibly agitated with efforts to delay the case.
The delay means the first trial related to the confrontation between the Bandidos and Cossacks motorcycle clubs and police outside of a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco is set to begin June 5 before a different judge. It involves 50-year-old Kyle Smith, a member of the Cossacks motorcycle club.
Attorneys for some of the more than 150 indicted bikers have pushed for speedy trials and dismissal of charges. The bikers were indicted on charges of engaging in organized criminal activity.
Others have sought a change of venue and have tried to disqualify District Attorney Abel Reyna from handling the cases.
Last year, a judge denied a motion on behalf of two bikers to have Reyna removed from the case. The bikers' attorneys argued Reyna overstepped his authority in having so many people arrested.
At least 11 people who were indicted and 23 people who weren't have filed lawsuits alleging their civil rights were violated for being wrongly arrested.
Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, http://www.wacotrib.com