Waco – F. Clinton Broden, the Dallas lawyer who is defending Matthew Clendennen for being a “witness to something he did not see” at the Twin Peaks massacre on May 17, asked the 54th District Court for a change of venue.
In addition to examples of prejudicial and sensational interviews given to national media by local officials, Broden cited case law that holds a failure to cooperate with law enforcement not chargeable as a criminal offense.
Clendennen, a Baylor grad and the operator of a lawn service company, is a member of the Scimitars, a support club of the Cossacks Motorcycle Club. That club is implicated in a federal investigation of an alleged gang war with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club for dominance of Texas and the right to identify as the sole “1%” club on their colors. FBI agents code-named their operation “Rocker Arm,” and coordinated their efforts with Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Intelligence Division and the Waco Police. DPS classified both clubs as criminal street gangs.
Their efforts culminated in a violent confrontation outside Twin Peaks breastaurant in this city on May 17 followed by the rapid response of the local gens d’armes, who lay in wait with assault carbines at the ready in an L-shaped ambush. Nine died, 20 lay wounded, and police arrested 177 after the estimated 90 seconds of resulting carnage. Justice of the Peace Pete Peterson, a retired State Trooper, set bond at $1 million in order to “send a message.” He explained this to the attentive ears of reporters who in turn flashed the news to a shocked nation awaiting word of what happened to these dear little children.
Chief among Broden’s allegations in papers filed with the 54th District Court Judge Matt Johnson, who is the former law partner of Criminal District Attorney Abel Reyna, is that his client is denied a speedy trial. He claims that video surveillance evidence in hand will prove to a jury that Clendennen was nowhere near when bullets began to whizz and fists began to fly, that he sought shelter in the low-crawl position of prone inside the building as soon as he saw this deadly scuffle-in-the-making.
Broden recently made a motion to discover the names of confidential informants and undercover officers who mingled with the bikers then convened for a Confederation of Clubs and Independents meeting to hear an update from legislative monitors during the waning days of the 84th Texas Legislature.
He has also alleged that a polygraph examination shows Clendennen had no prior knowledge of a violent confrontation, did not participate in violence, and is not an eye witness to what happened. He wishes to enter the examiner’s testimony on the record of the trial.
In a pleading filed by the prosecution, Reyna bids au contraire, saying that Broden’s gambit is merely a pre-trial strategy designed to create a reversible error by the Court, a point on appeal.
Clendennen, like all his co-defendants, has been indicted with the identical offense of engaging in organized criminal activity leading to capital murder and/or aggravated assault. The allegations are supported by an affidavit of warrantless arrest sworn by a Waco Police officer who was not present and cannot testify as to his personal knowledge or observation of what actually occurred. Reportedly, many officers who were there passed on swearing to the allegations.