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Costs mount despite Waco motorcycle gang trials on hold

WACO, Texas (AP) — Costs are mounting for the Texas county where a fatal gunfight involving two motorcycle gangs and police led to the indictments of more than 150 bikers.

The trials arising from the May 2015 shooting at a Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco are on hold until a federal case against leaders of the Bandidos motorcycle gang wraps up, which could be at least several months, the Waco Tribune-Herald (http://bit.ly/2p5OpBJ ) reported.

But that hasn’t meant a slowdown for McLennan County, where prosecutors are sharing massive amounts of evidence with defense attorneys while awaiting tests on DNA samples from the shootout that killed nine people and wounded 20 others.

So far, work related to the case tops $200,000 for the county, not including more than $500,000 defrayed by state and federal grants and reimbursements. The balance can be paid over several budget years.

The case involves about 70 defense court-appointed attorneys, meaning the county is responsible for their fees that range from $75 to $80 an hour for work in and out of the courtroom. They also receive $50 an hour for travel time, plus mileage compensation. One defense attorney notes she’s received more than 870,000 pages of documents to review.

Six top Bandidos leaders are scheduled to go on trial Aug. 7 in San Antonio on federal charges, including racketeering, that allege they sanctioned a deadly years-long fight on the rival Cossacks gang.

Investigators have said the Waco shootout involved members of the same two motorcycle gangs, and that a fight erupted during a gathering of various motorcycle clubs. The Associated Press reported in May 2016 that ballistics reports reviewed by AP showed four of the people killed were struck by the same caliber of rifle fired by Waco police. A Waco police spokesman declined to comment at the time, citing a gag order in the criminal case of one of the bikers.

Federal prosecutors have told McLennan County officials they have evidence related to the Twin Peaks shootout but are keeping it under wraps until trial.

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Information from: Waco Tribune-Herald, http://www.wacotrib.com

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