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Of the 177 bikers jailed after the May 17 Twin Peaks shootout, none remain in McLennan County jails and 135 of those were fitted with GPS ankle monitors after negotiating reduced bonds.
Almost five months later, all but 22 of those 135 have been allowed to remove the ankle monitors after agreements between their attorneys and state prosecutors to amend the conditions of their bonds.
Reyna’s prosecutors have taken hard lines during examining trials for bikers, alleging that each showed up at Twin Peaks that day wearing his or her colors, most of them armed, in a show of full support for their affiliate members because they were keenly aware that such a firestorm could erupt.
“Assuming, if you are like me, that this is not going to end up with 177 convictions and 177 life sentences,” said Austin attorney Adam Reposa, who said his multiple Bandido clients were set to get their ankle monitors removed last week.
“It is going to end up pretty much the opposite,” he said. “So if you are the people who are prosecuting, you have to start culling cases that you are conceding. They realize they are not going anywhere with this particular individual, so eventually, they have to start letting go.
“That is what I see. We are starting the letting-go process, although they are not admitting they did something wrong. Oh God, no. They would never do that. I don’t think we will ever get to that point where they admit these people did nothing wrong and should never have been arrested,” Reposa said.
Houston attorney Paul Looney said two of his three clients, a married couple from Brenham, were not required to wear the ankle monitors and his third client had his removed in an agreement with prosecutors.
“I can only speculate, but my guess is that the ones that are still wearing the ankle bracelets present some type of specific flight risk, or, in the alternative, their lawyers are lazy and they just haven’t come in to visit with the prosecutor,” he said. “A lot of lawyers haven’t done that.”
Looney cautioned that there likely is no connection between levels of culpability and those still wearing ankle monitors.
“I have gone through the discovery, and right now I am of the opinion that they might not successfully prosecute anybody who is still alive. I think they may have a couple of dead people they may be able to convict, but the ones who committed the crimes are dead. Everybody else was defending themselves or other people,” Looney said.
I have been part of the protests in Waco by the rest of the biker community to defend them.
Months later, though, the Waco P.D. was still suppressing any video footage and ballistic analysis that could offer proof. Some of the 177 arrested (including four women) languished in jail for weeks, others for months, before they could afford to post bail. All of them, even guys who hid out in the bathroom while bullets flew, face up to 99 years in jail.
These bimonthly confederation meetings, known as COC meetings, are mostly arcane discussions of motorcycle-rights issues. They have zero history of violence.
Then again, they have virtually zero history of Cossack participation. In fact, May 17 marked only the second time in memory any of the club's members had ever attended a COC meeting; for years, they'd refused to join the organization—a direct rebuke to the Bandidos, Texas's most powerful motorcycle club and one of the nation's largest, with more than 2,000 members. But things had been ugly between the two rivals for a while—fistfights, knife fights, roadside beatings. Infrequent, but growing in brutality.
And virtually every biker I spoke with last June and July—Cossacks, Bandidos, members of multiple other clubs, 22 bikers in total—believes that the real blame for all the dead bodies belongs with the Waco police.
Any attempt to try to piece together exactly how the nine bikers died—whose guns fired the fatal shots—requires wading into JFK-assassination levels of paranoia and confusion. For instance, members of multiple clubs have claimed that when the shooting started, two Cossacks stood up inside the restaurant, took off their cuts, and put on badges. Were they undercover cops waiting for a fight to break out, and if so, did they play a part in instigating it? Other witnesses have said that a Waco cop wearing a Cossacks cut was firing shots, then helped make arrests afterward.
I can't be the only one who this entire debacle bothers.