Twin Peaks trial begins

Video by Jessica Babb | Broadcast Managing Editor, Story by Christina Soto | Broadcast Reporter

The first trial of the 154 indicted bikers who were involved in the deadly shootout at Twin Peaks restaurant began Wednesday afternoon with Jacob Carrizal, 36, the Bandidos Dallas chapter president.

On May 17, 2015, nine people were fatally shot and 18 people were injured outside of Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, which permanently closed the next day. The shooting occurred over a territory fight between rival biker gangs the Bandidos and Cossacks.

The trial began with an opening statement from District Attorney Abel Reyna, who said that what happened at Twin Peaks was not an isolated act of violence. He said that during this trial the jury will learn about the 1 percent of a subculture that are motorcycle groups. They will learn about their territories and, in his opinion, their disregard for the law.

“Evidence will show will that there is no regard for the law of society but rather [biker clubs] exist to do their own thing,” Reyna said.

Reyna said that the Cossacks betrayed the Bandidos by wearing Texas rockers on their vests without permission from the Bandidos. He said the Bandidos have always controlled Texas, and they refuse to give up any part of it. For the first time, the coalition moved the meeting outside of the Austin area to Waco. Carrizal set instructions on how to rectify the situation, including bringing weapons. he then rode with his brothers to Waco to deal with the Cossacks.

“They wanted to rectify the disrespect that had been shown to the Bandidos and to show what is the red and gold nation,” Reyna said.

Witness Lettie Jones, who had been working at Twin Peaks the day of the deadly shootout, took the stand and tears streamed down her face as she remembered that day.

Jones was working in the kitchen when she heard gunshots, which at first she thought were fireworks.

“I heard a pop, then many more pops,” Jones said.

It was not until she left the kitchen and heard people scream that she realized what was going on. She ran back to the kitchen with her co-workers in an attempt to escape, but they stayed hidden in the freezer.

Jones recalled the moments after the shootout when the ambulances had arrived and began to weep as she remembered the bodies being dragged out in front of her. She said this event gave her post-traumatic stress disorder and she hasn’t worked since.

Carrizal is pleading not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit murder and aggravated assault.

After two days of jury selection, around 1 p.m. on Oct. 11, three women and 11 men were chosen.

Carrizal’s defense attorney, Casie Gutro did not give an opening statement today and will give it at a later date. The trial is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. on Thursday.