1st trial in Twin Peaks biker shootout ends in mistrial

WACO, Texas (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Friday in the trial of a chapter leader of the Bandidos biker gang after the jury deadlocked on a verdict arising from the deadliest shootout between biker groups in U.S. history.

State District Judge Matt Johnson ended the trial Friday of Christopher “Jake” Carrizal after McLennan County jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked. They had deliberated for 14 hours in the first trial arising from the 2015 gunfight that left nine bikers dead.

No retrial was immediately scheduled.

Carrizal, president of the Bandidos’ Dallas chapter, was charged with directing the activities of a criminal street gang and two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity with the underlying offenses of murder and aggravated assault.

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He testified that a rival biker club, the Cossacks, provoked the May 17, 2015, brawl and gunfight at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco.

The mistrial leaves unclear the prospects faced by other defendants charged in the shootout. Experts had been looking toward a verdict from the Carrizal trial as an indicator of how solid the government’s cases against other leaders and dozens of members might be.

Testifying in his own behalf, Carrizal told the jury that the Cossacks were behaving provocatively when Carrizal’s group arrived at the restaurant for a meeting, and a brawl quickly erupted.

Carrizal said a Cossack was trying to punch him through his safety helmet with brass knuckles when he heard gunshots. He said he tried to reach for the knife in his pocket but couldn’t grasp it. As the fight continued and he was on the ground, he reached for a two-shot Derringer pistol in his back pocket and fired it at a Cossack. When he couldn’t reload, he took cover behind a light pole and yelled for his father, who also was part of the brawl. He said he saw one member of his group lying dead and another bleeding from the head, so he crawled under a truck.

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He finally saw two police officers helping his father, who was shot in the shoulder.

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that in a note Thursday night, the jury foreman reported a juror identified as “Mr. P” told the other jurors he had prior experience with the Cossacks and would not change his mind because of it. That juror has ties to a McLennan County motorcycle shop, which he disclosed on his juror questionnaire in early October.