Judge Matt Johnson declared a mistrial after two days of deliberations in which the jury was hopelessly deadlocked. The President of the Dallas chapter of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club was facing three separate charges relating to events that took place at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015. Carrizal was charged with directing a criminal street gang and engaging in organized criminal activity, or conspiring to engage in criminal activity, as a member of a criminal street gang, resulting in 9 murders and 18 instances of aggravated assault.
Although a new trial setting has been scheduled for April 2018, there are many factors that could impact the decision for a retrial. Regardless, based on observing the trial firsthand, there is every reason to have hope that Jake Carrizal will remain a free man. Why? Because Jake chooses courage over cowardice. And that choice makes America a better place.
The State’s Case Against Carrizal
The state’s case rested largely on two text messages sent by Carrizal to other members of the Dallas chapter, and Dallas area support clubs, in the week preceding Twin Peaks. The first text asks for all members of the red and gold (that aren’t working) to attend the COC meeting at Twin Peaks and to leave their Ol’ Ladies at home. The second text simply suggested that everyone bring their tools. The prosecution contended that these texts were sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately for Jake, the red and gold nation, and the motorcycle club community at large, a jury of 12, all citizens of Waco, disagreed and refused to convict.
The attempt to retry Carrizal will likely be futile. At one point on Friday, November 10th the jury sent a note to Judge Matt Johnson indicating that they had a unanimous verdict on one charge but were hopelessly deadlocked on the other two. But later that day the jury indicated that they were hopelessly deadlocked on all three charges.
According to firsthand accounts, the jury was nearly unanimous in the opinion that Carrizal was NOT GUILTY an all counts. One of the 12 jurors sent a message to Casie Gotro, Carrizal’s attorney, validating this claim after the trial was over:
“Hello my name is ******** and I was one of the jurors on Jake’s case. Please let Jake and his family know that I am so sorry that we couldn’t get 2-3 guys to change their mind to not guilty. They weren’t budging. I hate that you, him, and his family are possibly going to have to do this again. Jake seems like a great guy, and his mom seems so sweet. I think you are an awesome attorney and did a great job. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me. If this case happens to go to trial again I hope you get all of the evidence beforehand.”
The Most Important Factors In Carrizal’s Defense
Based on directly observing the trial, the MPP contends that there were two major elements of the defense that resulted in the majority of jurors concluding that Carrizal was not guilty. First, Jake Carrizal, in the MPP’s opinion, was the most credible witness to take the stand during the five week trial in the 54th District Court of McLennan County. Second, Miss Gotro’s closing argument was powerful and convincing. Self- defense and courage are far more credible and persuasive than the McLennan County District Attorney’s discriminatory and specious conclusions related to the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and 1% culture.
Jake Takes The Stand
Carrizal took the stand in his own defense and told the jury a firsthand account of the events of May 17, 2015. Carrizal, arriving in a pack of motorcycles riding from Dallas, was immediately ambushed by a large number of members from the Cossacks Motorcycle Club. Dozens of Cossacks jumped over a rail and poured out of the Twin Peaks patio area surrounding Carrizal’s group. Words were exchanged. Things quickly escalated. A Cossack hit a Bandido. More punches were thrown and gunshots quickly followed. Police responded and subdued the conflict. Police killed four of the Cossacks that died that day. One Bandido and one Bandido supporter were killed by the ambushing Cossacks.
Carrizal, based on his vivid testimony, says he was acting in self-defense when he shot two bullets from a .38 Derringer that his father had given him for protection. (Ballistics confirm that neither of these shots hit anyone.) Carrizal’s father, also ambushed, was shot by a Cossack but survived.
Interestingly, based on Carrizal’s account, there is only one party responsible for the tragedy at Twin Peaks. While many people over the last two and a half years have insisted that law enforcement is the culpable party, Carrizal’s testimony directly disputes this notion. In fact, Carrizal maintains that law enforcement saved his life that day. Not once. But twice. Two Cossacks, shooting at Jake from less than ten feet away, were justifiably shot by officer Jackson of the Waco PD. According to Carrizal, the Cossacks were solely responsible for the conflict that day by violating sacred ground among motorcycle clubs. With the exception of a few minor incidents over decades, Confederation of Clubs meetings have been peaceful gathering places, even among alleged rivals.
Miss Gotro’s Closing Argument
The prosecution contended that Carrizal only had two choices on May 17, 2015. The DA essentially argued that running away like a coward, leaving his father and Club brothers behind, was the only legal option. The state argued that the choice to stand his ground was criminal because they consider the Bandidos MC a criminal street gang. But Miss Gotro rebutted this notion with only one word.
Miss Gotro argued that there has to be another choice other than being a coward or a criminal, reminding the jury that they had the option of carving out space in between these two extremes. The courage to stand your ground in the face of an ambush in defense of yourself and others must be an option.
Why? Because, as Gotro argued, men like Jake make the world a better place. We are better off with men that display courage in the face of fear and extreme circumstances instead of those that display cowardice or criminality.
Some Final Thoughts
In a world where our civil liberties and the right to free association and expression are heavily under attack, the MPP strongly agrees with Gotro’s argument. The founding of America was based on courage. There would be no free republic if those that fought for our independence chose cowardice. They too were labeled criminals for displaying courage in the face of oppression and fear.
We are better off because of men like Jake Carrizal and their commitment to loyalty, honor, love and respect. Our world would be a far better place if society defined righteousness by the display of courage as opposed to the cowardice suggested by Reyna, Jarret, and the entire McLennan County DA.
Jake represents a free society. The state’s prosecution represents the lack of honor driving the attempt to erode the freedoms and liberties many real men have fought against for over 200 years. Jake deserves to be fully exonerated and issued an apology from the state of Texas.
Indeed, it’s cowardice that ought to be considered criminal.
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