(AP) -- A local judge has been removed from overseeing the first
trial stemming from the deadly shootout between bikers and police in
Waco, Texas, that resulted in more than 150 arrests.
District Judge Ralph Strother was recused Monday, marking the fourth
case he's been removed from related to the 2015 shootings that killed
nine people and wounded 20 others outside a Twin Peaks restaurant.
said motorcycle clubs were meeting at the restaurant when a fight broke
out between the Cossacks and the Bandidos, which the Texas Department
of Public Safety categorizes as an outlaw motorcycle gang. The fight
spilled into the parking lot as three police SWAT officers responded
with rifle fire.
The suspects' attorneys
argued Strother was biased, with three noting that the judge required
bikers to appear in court so prosecutors could serve them with DNA
warrants. The attorneys said the move showed Strother coordinated with
prosecutors on matters that required neutrality.
only other state judge in Waco, District Judge Matt Johnson, was named
to replace Strother on Tuesday. But his appointment was also challenged.
McLennan County's district attorney said the latest ruling wouldn't affect the cases.
first biker scheduled to go on trial is 35-year-old Christopher "Jake"
Carrizal, a train conductor and member of the Bandidos motorcycle club's
Dallas chapter. Johnson was set to oversee jury selection on Tuesday,
but Carrizal's attorney filed a motion during the judge's opening
remarks to have the judge removed. After a lengthy hearing Tuesday, a
visiting judge declined to remove Johnson.
reports seen by The Associated Press show that four of the people
killed were struck by bullets from Waco police rifles, and that two of
them were struck only by bullets fired from police weapons.
A grand jury last September declined to recommend charges for the officers after they were cleared by an internal investigation.