Two judges dismissed charges Thursday against 13 Twin Peaks bikers following dismissal motions filed by the McLennan County District Attorney's Office in both Waco's 19th and 54th State District Courts.
The DA's office also refused to prosecute eight more bikers who were not indicted in connection with the deadly 2015 shooting at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. Reyna said the DA's office would instead "focus its efforts and resources on co-defendants with a higher level of culpability."
The eight people whose prosecution was refused were Ester Weaver, Ryan Craft, Jonathan Lopez, Theron Rhoten, Jim Harris, Bonar Crump, Juan Garcia and Drew King.
In a related matter, 19th State District Court Judge Ralph Strother approved DA Abel Reyna's request to recuse his office from the trial of Cossack Billy McCree. That was one of two voluntary recusal motions Reyna submitted on Thursday.
Cases will be dismissed against the following defendants: Boyce Rockett, Narcisco Luna Jr., Mario Gonzalez, Marco Dejong, Michael Doyle Moore, James Rosas, Colter Bajovich, Jose Valle, Clifford Lee Pearce, Andrew Raymond Stroer, Diego Nerio Obledo, William Redding and Jorge Daniel Salinas.
Salinas is a Cossack represented by lawyer Brian Bouffard.
"I am relieved for my client," Bouffard said. "It’s nice to have him out of danger. As for myself, I am disgusted at the way this case was handled. It’s been almost three years. Unless you see and talk to these people, it’s hard to see how much of a toll it’s taken on them."
The May 17, 2015 shootout at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco left nine people dead and many more injured. Law enforcement then arrested 177 people. Most of them were later charged by Abel Reyna's office.
The first Twin Peaks trial of Jake Carrizal ended in a mistrial in November 2017.
Just this week, a judge dismissed a Court of Inquiry into conflicting testimony provided by Reyna and Waco Police Detective Manuel Chavez regarding what about happened in the aftermath of the shooting.
Reyna said his office was waiting on Twin Peaks evidence currently in possession of the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Antonio. He said the DA's office would not be allowed to view said evidence until the end of the federal trial that was expected to conclude in March. Once the DA's office receives that evidence, Reyna said his office would make more decisions about the remaining Twin Peaks trials.
Read Reyna's full statement below.
The last part of Reyna's statement came in response to the below quote made by fellow 2018 Republican primary challenger for the DA's office Barry Johnson.
“During my campaign for District Attorney, I have been saying all along that Abel Reyna has put justice in jeopardy and that there is proof that justice is for sale in McLennan County. Recent events have proven me correct. By dismissing Twin peaks cases and recusing others, Abel Reyna has all but admitted misconduct in how he has handled the cases. Abel Reyna’s political ambition not only jeopardized justice, but will also cost McLennan County taxpayers millions of dollars. In addition, Reyna has once again been able to hide from answering serious political corruption questions about his dismissal of criminal cases for friends and influential people in exchange for campaign donations. Abel Reyna has broken the public trust and must be removed from office by the ballot box. I stand ready to restore integrity and honesty to the office of District Attorney.”