WACO, Texas (CN) – A Texas jury will begin deliberations Thursday after defense attorneys for the Dallas leader of the Bandidos motorcycle gang rested in the first case to go to trial over a 2015 shootout with rivals that killed nine and injured 20.
In his second day of cross-examination Wednesday, Jacob “Jake” Carrizal, 35, of Dallas, was challenged by Assistant McLennan County District Attorney Michael Jarrett over his ownership of a yellow biker helmet.
A former Twin Peaks employee testified last month that the shooting started when a man in a “big yellow helmet” pulled a large “Dirty Harry” gun and shot a biker in front of him. Carrizal’s brother, Chuck Carrizal, later testified his brother owned a yellow biker helmet.
Carrizal told Jarrett he was wearing a yellow helmet, but there was at least one more person in a yellow helmet.
“I don’t deny I was wearing a multi-colored helmet,” he said.
Carrizal is charged with two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity and one count of directing organized criminal activity. Over 150 people were charged in the aftermath of the May 17, 2015 shooting at a Twin Peaks “breastaurant” in Waco.
Carrizal is the first to go to trial. He faces up to life in state prison if convicted. He has repeatedly denied being in a criminal gang, describing the Bandidos as more of a lifelong brotherhood that performs charitable toy runs.
He has denied starting the shooting, stating during direct examination Tuesday that punches were thrown soon after his group of Bandidos tried to park at the restaurant and were surrounded by members of the rival Cossacks gang. He said the Cossacks were not invited to the biker coalition meeting.
Carrizal expressed doubt about the former Twin Peaks employee’s testimony, saying she could not have seen what she claimed from her angle in the restaurant.
Prosecutors have tried to convince jurors the dispute between the two gangs that sparked the shootout revolved around the Cossacks starting to wear “Texas” bottom rocker patches on their vests without permission from the Bandidos, who claim the state as their territory.
They allege Carrizal urged members to bring their guns, leave their women at home and not travel alone before leaving for Waco.
Jarrett reminded Carrizal that he lied to police about his helmet, on top of another lie about not having a gun. Carrizal said he lied out of fear for himself during an initial interview and that he had never been in trouble with the law before.
“At the time I still could not comprehend what was going on,” he said Wednesday. “I honestly did not know what was going on.”
Prosecutor Jarrett also asked about a questionable “no mercy” patch that Carrizal was awarded after the shootout.
Carrizal explained the patch means “expect no mercy” from the law enforcement and legal system. He said he removed the patch because his family and friends told him “it looked bad” on his cut.
“Why do you put things on that put you out there as a criminal if you are not one?” Jarrett asked.
Carrizal responded that they “like that image” but that it should not be used against him.
“You are using it literally against us,” he said. “It is not meant to be as literal as law enforcement takes it.”
The defense rested Wednesday and jurors are expected to begin deliberating Carrizal’s fate Thursday afternoon.