1st trial stemming from Texas biker fight ends in mistrial

WACO, Texas (AP) — A judge declared a mistrial Friday in a case involving a leader of the Bandidos biker gang after jurors said they were hopelessly deadlocked in the first trial stemming from the deadliest shootout between biker groups in U.S. history.

Jurors had deliberated for 14 hours in the trial of Christopher “Jake” Carrizal, the president of the Bandidos’ Dallas chapter. Carrizal had testified that a rival biker club, the Cossacks, provoked the May 17, 2015, brawl and gunfight at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco that left nine bikers dead.

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.

Local police arrested 177 bikers after the mayhem, and more than 150 people were eventually charged.

No retrial for Carrizal was immediately scheduled. Calls to the prosecutor’s office after State District Judge Matt Johnson declared the mistrial rang unanswered.

Carrizal 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.

Testifying in his own behalf, Carrizal told the McLennan County 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…

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