Four more indicted Twin Peaks bikers have pleaded not guilty to engaging in organized crime. Three of the four bikers forced prosecutors to read the lengthy, “cookie-cutter” indictments against them.
Five other bikers waived attendance at their court appearances.
As reported extensively by Breitbart Texas, the charges against these and other bikers stem from the shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, on May 17. In all, over 175 bikers were swept up in a mass arrest. The bikers were all charged with the same crime – engaging in organized criminal gang activity.
As reported by Breitbart Texas, police characterized the afternoon gathering at the Waco Twin Peaks restaurant as a meeting of criminal biker gangs with violent intent. The bikers said the meeting was a legitimate, organized gathering of motorcycle riders to discuss political and other issues. The groups gathered there, the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents (CoC&I), hold frequent meetings to discuss biker safety issues, proposed legislation, and other motorcycle issues. Those there included bikers from Christian clubs and veterans, riding clubs, motorcycle clubs, and independents.
McLennan County Criminal District Judge Ralph Strother heard the not guilty pleas of the four men on Tuesday, as reported by the Waco Tribune Herald.
The local newspaper also reported that attorneys representing the bikers said their clients chose to appear in court and to force prosecutors to read the indictments.
Those who pleaded not guilty during the arraignment hearings were: John Moya (27, Gatesville); Robert Robertson (36, Fort Worth); Trey Short (28, Temple); and Seth A. Smith (28, Waco).
As reported by Breitbart Texas in mid-November, the McLennan County grand jury took just nine hours in one day to indict all 106 Twin Peaks bikers. The grand jury indicted all 106 bikers for the crime of engaging in organized criminal activity under a Texas criminal statute relating to a “criminal street gang.”
As reported by Breitbart Texas, criminal defense lawyers in Texas immediately condemned the “Cookie cutter indictments following cookie cutter arrest warrants” for the 106 bikers. A Texas lawyer posted the “cookie cutter” comment on Facebook and added, “The only evidence possibly presented would be that they were wearing club colors.”
Houston lawyer Grant Scheiner told Breitbart Texas at the time, “This case has all the trappings of assembly line justice. 106 cases presented to the grand jury and not a single one no-billed or reduced. Assuming the grand jury took a bathroom break or two during its nine hour session, that’s less than five minutes spent on each case.”
The math works out to exactly 5.09 minutes to hear evidence and deliberate for each indictment.
As reported by the Tribune Herald when the 106 bikers were indicted, the indictments charged that the bikers engaged in organized criminal activity by intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an individual. The indictments also charge that the method of death was by “shooting and/or stabbing and/or cutting and/or striking” the victims. All nine bikers killed are named.
All of the indictments against the bikers urge that the biker defendants used or exhibited a deadly weapon, namely “a firearm and/or a knife or a sharp object and/or a club and/or an asp and/or a whip and/or brass knuckles and/or a chain.”
The offenses committed were “as a member of a criminal street gang.”
As it relates to the 24 bikers who were injured, the indictments are reported to allege the bikers did so by shooting, stabbing, or striking their victims.
Section 71.02 of the Texas Penal Code provides that engaging in organized criminal activity for these crimes is a first-degree felony. The possible sentence is up to life in prison or from 15 to 99 years in prison.
Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas. She has served as an associate judge and prosecutor. Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2