Houston lawyer cuts losses in biker pre-trial

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William and Morgan English of the Distorted Motorcycle Club, will be bound over for a Grand Jury appearance because their 7-member club, Distorted, wears a patch that says, “I support the fat Mexican”

Waco – When Cossack Motorcyle Club member Cody Ledbetter appeared a half-hour early for his examining trial before retired Visiting Judge James Morgan Monday afternoon, August 17, he was surprised to learn the issue of enough probable cause to bind him over for a Grand Jury appearance was already settled.

Paul Looney, a seasoned defense attorney with offices in Houston and Hempstead, told him, “You lose the ankle bracelet, you lose the curfew, and you lose the travel restrictions.”

That’s when Ledbetter and members of his family burst into tears.

During the lunch hour, Looney and lead prosecutor Michael Jarrett had entered into an agreement for Ledbetter to waive his rights to an examining trial in return for modification of his bond conditions.

The tears Ledbetter and his family cried were obviously tears of joy, prompted by relief.

The attorney acted in the best interest of his client, he explained to the family, and added “They,” he said, nodding toward the two other defendants, “are going to the Grand Jury with no modification or reduction of their bond conditions.”

The lawyers spent a rocky morning battling over the testimony of Lt. Schwartz of the Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation Division as to why a Brenham couple named William and Morgan English, also represented by Looney, should be indicted for the crime of engaging in organized criminal activity in the mass shooting that left 9 dead, 17 wounded, and 177 under arrest for the identical charge of engaging in organized criminal activity on May 17 at Twin Peaks Restaurant.

Amid the hassles over legal procedure and the rules of court, it was clear that the sub rosa issue is clearly all about the guns. Period.

After slightly more than an hour of bitter dispute between Jarrett and Looney over the phrasing of questions – leading, irrelevant, calling for speculation, recollection of events about which Schwartz had no personal knowledge, an item previously asked and answered – Judge Morgan said in exasperation, “Y’all can keep on beating on that dead horse all you want to…I’ve about heard all I want to on this.”

Fixing Looney with a level gaze from the bench, the judge said, “Mr. Looney, you put a good argument, but I think it’s one for a jury. They (the Englishes) are bound over for the Grand Jury.”

The Englishes are members of a Bandidos support club named Distorted, a five-month-old organization, the membership roster of which numbers only 7.

Their colors are blue and white, but they wear a small patch called “cookie” on left shoulder area of their vests with a picture of the red and gold trademarked Bandidos logo, a man wearing a sombrero, brandishing a revolver and a machete, that says, “I support the fat Mexican.”

The club, like all others affiliated with the Confederation of Clubs, pays dues, and those dues are collected by the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

During testimony, the defense was able to establish that prior to May 17, the DPS unit had no criminal intelligence whatsover about the Distorted Mortorcycle Club, and had only added Distorted to a database of motorcycle clubs in April.

Looney also elicited testimony from Lt. Schwartz that made it plain that, “The Confederation of Clubs is an alterego for the Bandidos.”

Yes, sir.”

You have inadequate evidence to call Distorted a criminal street gang.”

Schwartz agreed.

To become a support club all you have to do is pay your dues.”

Schwartz agreed. When asked, “Are Bandidos are dangerous?” he answered yes. He also agreed that wearing a patch with Bandidos colors would possibly make riding a motorcycle a safer pursuit.

The position of the State argued by the prosecutor Jarrett is that participation in an ongoing criminal enterprise may be established by a person’s conduct, and not just by an overt act such as murdering another person for an economic gain.

Prior to the arrival of the Bandidos, as many as 40 to 50 membrers of clubs wearing Cossacks colors were standing in “sentry” positions around the patio and the parking lot, said Schwartz.

At one point, Schwartz answered to the question of whether either of the Englishes had a weapon other than the handgun they brought in the car, said, “Most people threw their guns down. When you have an M-4 pointed at and you’re told to throw it down, you throw it down.”

He admitted he had no proof either ever carried a weapon onto the property, and agreed that it is not a crime to carry a weapon in a vehicle.

It is a crime for a member of a criminal street gang to carry a weapon in a vehicle,” he said.

Asked by the prosecutor, Jarrett, what he personally experienced as the Bandidos arrived, he answered, “As the Bandidos stopped, a lot more support groups began to exit their vehicles and make their way to the front of the building. There was some altercation I did not see, and at that point, shots were fired…I was personally taking fire, yes.”

It was at that point that “All law enforcement officers began to take action to neutralize the situation,” he recalled.

The examining trials will begin again on Wednesday, August 19 at 1 p.m.

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