Jury selection for first Twin Peaks trial postponed after defense attorney files motion to recuse judge

Posted at 10:27 AM, Sep 01, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:05-04

The jury selection process for the first Twin Peaks trial for biker Christopher Jacob Carrizal has been postponed after the defendant’s attorney filed a recusal for the judge presiding the case.

Carrizal has been indicted on engaging in organized crime charges in the shooting that left nine people dead and dozens injured at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco on May 17, 2015.

On Friday, nearly 200 out of 388 prospective jurors expected to attend were supposed to explain to McLennan County Judge Ralph Strother whether they had exemptions or disqualifications that prevent them from serving. 600 prospective jurors had been summoned but after disqualifications and bad addresses, that left 388.

Carrizal’s attorney Casie Gotro filed a handwritten motion to recuse Strother between a hearing she had with prosecutors and Strother that ended around 9:45 a.m. and the jury selection hearing that started around 10 a.m.

Strother had started the hearing telling the jury they would be given a questionnaire about how they feel about certain issues. He added written questionnaires are not the norm, but in this case were necessary.

After he mentioned that, Strother, Gotro and prosecutors met behind closed doors. Soon after, McLennan County District Clerk Jon Gimble addressed the jurors that due to some issues in the case, the jury selection had been postponed until Sept. 12.

The recusal motion claimed Strother should not preside over this case as he was recused from three other cases pertaining Twin Peaks bikers. She also claims Strother used his authority to assist the state in prosecuting Carrizal and preventing her from getting evidence.

In previous hearings, Strother asked her several times the type of evidence she was missing that she had not received. The judge filed an order stating he will not recuse himself from this case voluntarily.

McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna released the following statement:

"The State was and remains ready for trial in this matter.”

News Channel 25 reached out to Gotro for comment but has not heard back yet. Strother declined to comment on the recusal.

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