Civil Liberties

Waco Biker Incident Grand Jury Expires; 39 Arrested Still Unindicted

But the district attorney wants them to know he might just indict them later on over the 11-month old incident for which no one has seen trial yet.


Of the 177 people arrested last May (and initially all given a uniform million dollar bond) after a shootout involving a bunch of motorcycle clubs attending a meeting of a biker organization, the Confederation of Clubs and Independents (mostly dedicated to political issues affecting bikers) 39 were finally, according to lawyers involved in the case, released from fear of eventual indictment as the grand jury dedicated to the case had its term expire.

Others were arrested related to that day's event later, and as of now 154 people have been indicted, though none have yet seen trial, or even a set trial date, for the events of 11 months ago.

The Waco Tribune reported on the failure (so far) to indict the 39.

An emailed press release from the law firm of Looney & Conrad, who represented some of the arrested, noted that:

"The extended term of the grand jury expired last night at midnight," said Paul Looney, defense attorney for the English's.  "Judge Johnson met this morning with DA Abel Reyna, Assistant DA Michael Jarrett and I.  The judge agreed he did not sign an order to continue the prosecution of the unindicted cases and because that grand jury's term has expired without an order extending the prosecution was signed, the prosecutions against the 39 unindicted bikers* are terminated by operation of law and their cases are dismissed."

Looney's partner Clay Conrad said in the same release that "The cases have all ended with a whimper, dismissed because there were no facts justifying the charges against them."

Until the statute of limitations on the crimes alleged expires, there is some possibility in the future even these 39 could later be indicted. 

District Attorney Abel Reyna very much wanted to make sure that the currently unindicted understood that and continue to live in fear.

After the firm issued its press release quoted above, Reyna announced that, as reported by local TV station KXXV:

Mr. Looney's version of what transpired today is sadly inaccurate.  We have not filed any dismissals in any of the remaining Twin Peaks cases.  Furthermore, any McLennan County Grand Jury can hear evidence on this matter and decide to issue additional indictments.  This is an ongoing, continuing investigation.

While nine people were killed and around 20 wounded during the melee that day, there is good reason to believe at least four of the dead were killed by police fire. Everyone, whether or not there appears to be direct evidence of them being part of any killing or injuring, were indicted under the same charge of engaging in organized criminal activity, more or less just for being bikers and for being there when all the violence happened.

I've reported extensively on some peculiarities in this Waco biker case involving both what likely actually happened that day and the way the legal system has been treating the people arrested.