WACO, Texas (CN) – An apologetic judge on Wednesday recessed the trial of a Dallas leader of the Bandidos motorcycle gang for the rest of the week, citing new audio evidence turned over by police.
“I am sincerely sorry for the delay, but it is unavoidable,” state District Judge Matt Johnson told jurors. “We have to make sure the trial is tried correctly and in accordance with all the rules.”
Jacob “Jake” Carrizal, 35, of Dallas, is charged with directing organized criminal activity in the violent shootout with the rival Cossacks gang at a Twin Peaks “breastaurant” in Waco on May 17, 2015. Nine bikers died and 20 were injured.
More than 150 defendants were charged. Carrizal is the first to go to trial. He faces up to life in state prison if convicted.
The judge granted defense attorney Casie Gotro’s motion for a continuance due to an audio recording of an interview the attorney received from Waco police Wednesday morning. She told the judge the identity of one of the police officers is unknown.
“This recording contains statements that are inconsistent with what the state’s theory has been thus far, your honor,” Gotro said. “I need to know who that law enforcement official was that was present during the statements.”
After listening to the interview and two other recordings police turned over Wednesday, Johnson ordered the city to disclose the identities of the officers. He also issued a protective order to keep the identities and contents of the recordings private.
“I find a reasonable probability exists that the information on the exhibits produced by the city could potentially give testimony necessary to a fair determination of guilt or innocence,” the judge said.
Hours earlier, the city had filed a motion for protective order, citing privilege.
“The court’s order is broad enough to include the identity of a person or persons who have furnished relevant or useful information which is protected by this privilege,” the motion states. “Release of this information would put those person or persons at risk, and would jeopardize future cooperation of sources and other law enforcement agencies.”
The recess came the day after the prosecution rested its case. It called several dozen witnesses in three weeks of testimony.
Prosecutors said Carrizal told other Bandidos to “bring their tools,” or guns, not to travel alone, to leave women at home and not to tolerate disrespect.
Waco police testified that the owner of the restaurant declined to cancel the biker event, saying nothing bad had happened at previous biker nights there.
Shaniqua Corsey, a former employee of the restaurant, testified earlier in the trial that the shooting started when a man in a “big yellow helmet” pulled a large pistol and shot a biker in front of him. Jake Carrizal’s brother, Chuck Carrizal, later testified that his brother owned a yellow motorcycle helmet, ABC-affiliate KTRE reported on Wednesday.
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