Photo: Rod Aydelotte, MBO
A Brenham couple and about three dozen other bikers arrested following the deadly melee at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco last May may avoid prosecution.
A Houston lawyer contends that all criminal charges were automatically dropped against them since they were not indicted by the midnight Thursday deadline for a McLennan County grand jury to have completed its work.
“It timed out,” said Houston lawyer Paul Looney, who represents Morgan and William English. They originally were arrested for allegedly engaging in organized criminal activity and were held on $1 million bail each, as were all others in the case. “Pop the champagne.”
He said that while the investigation remains open and a new grand jury could take the case, under the law, the charges that had been pending are now gone.
The district attorney’s office, however, cautioned nothing is over.
“We have not filed any dismissals in any of the remaining Twin Peaks cases,” said Amy Kuzniarek, spokeswoman for the office.
“Furthermore, any McLennan County grand jury can hear evidence on this matter and decide to issue additional indictments,” she said. “This is an ongoing, continuing investigation.”
Exactly how many people have had their charges dismissed is unclear. At least 148 have been indicted over the incident. At least 177 were originally arrested following the clash that left nine dead and two dozen wounded. Others were arrested later.
The judge declined a request to clarify the situation.
Looney said they all agreed the judge would have had to sign an order to keep the cases active, but no such request was made.
William and Morgan English had faced the prospect of up to life in prison if convicted of engaging in organized criminal activity as part of a turf war between the Bandidos Motorcycle Club and the Cossacks Motorcycle Club.
Of those who are not facing charges so far, none was a member of the Bandidos or Cossacks. All were in the vicinity of Twin Peaks for a regional motorcycle club meeting that was supposed to be about safety and changes in the law.
The Englishes were part of a small group of bikers from the Brenham area who call themselves the Distorted Motorcycle Club. They arrived at Twin Peaks in a Nissan Sentra, not on motorcycles, and maintained they had no hand in the violence.
Morgan English, a bank teller, has no prior criminal record. William, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, had only a years-old prior brush with the law for driving under the influence.
Looney said the couple were relieved at not being indicted, but they still are dealing with having their lives suspended and their mug shots distributed around the Internet.
“I’m happy these people can try to regain their lives, regain the respect of their community and find a way to deal with the emotional trauma of having had this happen to them at all,” Looney said.