On Thursday, two McLennan County District Court judges approved the dismissal of 13 cases involved in the Twin Peaks shootout.
Jorge Salinas, 27, is one of the 13 defendants whose charges were dropped. He was previously charged with engaging in organized criminal activity. The charges stemmed from the shootout outside the former Twin Peaks restaurant in May of 2015 that left nine people dead and dozens injured.
Salinas said he feels relieved knowing the cases are dismissed.
"Three years of not just me, but all of us going through this. It's finally something> starting to see light," Salinas said.
The McLennan County District Attorney’s Office also recused itself from two cases, including Billy McRee.
This happened the same day McRee and Salinas’ attorneys were planning to have a recusal hearing for the DA’S Office.
“The actions of the District Attorney’s Office and Abel Reyna in dismissing these cases and recusing himself only from my client’s case is nothing more than a smoke screen. The timing is suspicious and everyone knows it,” David Conrad Beyer, the attorney for McRee, said.
Reyna said while there is probable cause to move forward with these cases, his office will focus its efforts and resources on co-defendants with a higher level of culpability.
“This decision should not be viewed as "folding" or "giving up" by any means. Rather, this is an effort to narrow in on those more culpable without expending your precious judicial resources on lower level gang members," Reyna said.
Brian Bouffard, the attorney for Jorge Salinas said his client and other bikers have experienced three years of injustice.
"[Reyna] would do anything to avoid that hearing and that's the way he has chosen to do it. Am I happy for my client, absolutely? Am I disgusted by this process? Yeah,” Bouffard said.
He added Reyna ended a hearing that Bouffard said would look into Reyna's corruption and misconduct.
Reyna said the dismissals are not a political move.
“The continued abuse of the criminal justice process and the repeated attempts at political smear tactics are nothing more than an attempt to vote me out of office, avoid justice and distract from the events of May 17, 2015,” Reyna said.
The 13 cases that have been dismissed include:
On Thursday, prosecutors also decided not to indict eight bikers arrested after the shootout.
Reyna also stated it's possible that other cases may be dismissed in the future while others will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
His office is waiting on evidence from a federal trial Reyna said will not become available until March.
Reyna also denied ever showing favoritism to friends or supporters.
"I have no higher political ambition than to serve each of you as the District Attorney of McLennan County," Reyna said. "I was born here. I grew up here. I live here."
The first Twin Peaks biker trial with Christopher Jacob Carrizal was declared a mistrial in Nov. 2017. The second trial for Matthew Clendennen was pushed back.
In May 2015, a shootout at Twin Peaks in Waco between several motorcycle clubs, including the Bandidos and the Cossacks, left nine dead and 20 others injured. More than 150 bikers were indicted after the shootout.
Copyright 2018 KXXV. All rights reserved.