Jury selection will continue Wednesday amid security debate in Twin Peaks trial

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Christopher Jacob Carrizal, one of the bikers charged in the 2015 Twin Peaks shootout.

On Monday, a panel of 147 potential jurors arrived at the McLennan County Courthouse to fill out questionnaires before jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Dallas Bandidos Motorcycle Club President Christopher Jacob Carrizal.

On Tuesday, prosecutors explained to the jurors how the trial process would work. Jury selection was scheduled to continue Wednesday. Once a panel of 12 jurors and two alternates is finalized, opening arguments can begin.

Channel 6 News Reporter Jasmin Caldwell, who was in the courtroom Tuesday, said minimal progress was made in whittling down the jury pool during the seven hour process. However, both sides expressed confidence that if everything went as planned, a jury could be picked Wednesday morning and opening arguments could commence as early as Wednesday afternoon.

Carrizal's family was in court, showing their support for him.

Barriers surrounded the entire courthouse, officers were posted up behind tents, and police cars were visible on every corner.

"You can see outside that there are some security improvements or enhancements. They are trying to stay low-key but prepared," McLennan County District Clerk Jon Gimble said.

While some applauded the heightened security, defense Attorney Clint Broden, who represents another biker -- Matthew Clendennen -- claimed he believed the precautions were designed to taint the jurors.

"Even though they have not had any trouble from the motorcyclist throughout the two and a half years, these cases have been pending," Broden said. "They want to create an atmosphere that creates fear in the mind of jurors."

In court on Tuesday, Carrizal's attorney Casie Gotro told Judge Matt Johnson the security tent outside the court building was a "circus tent."

Several bikers echoed Broden and Gotro's argument, including members of the Sons of Liberty motorcycle club who were in Waco to show support for Carrizal.

"We are in awe of the pictures they are trying to paint here," said Mel Moss, President of Sons of Liberty Riders Motorcycle club. "They are trying to maybe intimidate the jury into thinking they are maybe not safe."

Moss said despite some of the public's negative perception of bikers, he believed no members of any of the motorcycle clubs that were present intended to cause issues at the courthouse.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said the tight security might not exist for each of the 154 biker trials. He said he will consider security on a case-by-case basis.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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