The first murder charges came Wednesday for a massive Texas biker shootout in 2015 that led to nine deaths and nearly 200 arrests.
Three members of the Bandidos motorcycle club — Jeff Battey, Glenn Walker and Ray Allen — were charged days before the third anniversary of their shootout with the Cossacks gang outside a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco. More than 20 other bikers were also charged with lesser crimes including rioting and tampering with evidence, just a few days before the statute of limitations expired.
Police officers killed at least two of the bikers, according to evidence reviewed by the Associated Press, but were cleared of charges by a grand jury.
The shootout captured national attention when surveillance video emerged showing hundreds of men in biker vests, bloodied and armed, on a restaurant patio firing into a parking lot and battling each other with chains and knives. Crime scene photos of the chaos showed bodies sprawled in a parking lot outside the restaurant and guns scattered all over the ground.
Walker is charged with murdering Richard Kirschner, who was shot three times during the biker brawl. Two of the shots that hit Kirschner came from a police rifle, according to the AP.
Battey's attorney Seth Sutton, said Wednesday that prosecutors hadn’t provided a “full and complete picture of the evidence.” He expressed certainty that at least his client would be “acquitted of all wrongdoing.” Brian Walker's attorney said he acted in self-defense and Walker's attorney hasn't commented, according to the AP story.
Only one biker had previously been tried in connection with the shootout, for alleged organized criminal activity with an underlying offense of murder. That trial ended in a hung jury, but most of the jurors had apparently been leaning towards acquittal, according to WFAA-TV in Dallas.
Prosecutors initially laid out 192 charges in connection with the bloodbath, but in recent months have dropped 154 of those charges, reportedly to focus on those “more culpable.”