WACO -- McLennan County District Attorney Abel Reyna announced Wednesday that he would refuse to prosecute 24 Twin Peaks shooting cases and request 13 more be dismissed.
Wednesday's announcement would bring the total number of disposed cases to 58.
Hearings were scheduled Thursday to consider disqualifying Reyna from at least 10 Twin Peaks trials. In a press conference Wednesday, Reyna confirmed those 10 cases were among those being taken off the table.
Defense attorneys have previously argued Reyna has dismissed cases in order to avoid testifying under oath at disqualification hearings. On Wednesday, Reyna again denied any wrongdoing.
Roughly 100 cases remain under investigation.
The cases being dismissed are those of defendants Raymond Hawes, Daniel Johnson, Edward Keller, Jr., Jeremy King, Brian Logan, Robert Nichols, Anthony Shane Palmer, Victor Pizana, Clayton Reed, Sergio Reyes, Gregory Salazar, Seth A. Smith and Ricky Wycough.
The cases Reyna will refuse to prosecute are those involving Steven Walker, Jimmy Spencer, Bobby Samford, Julie Perkins, Morgan English, William English, Benjamin Matcek, Jimmy Smith, Bradley Terwilliger, Justin Waddington, Daryle Walker, Royce Vanvleck, Christopher Eaton, Brian Eickenhorst, Arley Harris, James Venable, Jeremy Ojeda, Kevin Rash, Richard Kreder, Owen Bartlett, Richard Dauley, Craig Rodahl, Walter Weaver and Michael Woods.
Reyna also said he planned to ask to be recused from the trial of William Aiken. But, he said Judge Doug Shaver had not signed off on anything related to that matter, as of Wednesday morning.
Arlington-based Defense Attorney Gary Smart, who represents Raymond Hawes III, and fellow attorney John Stickels, who represents Jeremy King, released the following statement via email after Reyna's press conference on Wednesday. They later said attorneys Reed Prospere and Pia Lederman were also attaching their names to the statement.
"Surprise! Surprise! Surprise! Once again Abel Reyna has dismissed numerous Twin Peaks cases in order to avoid a hearing during which his former first assistant district attorney, his former executive assistant, attorneys in his office and a former police detective would testify. Is there really any legitimate question as to why he has authorized these dismissals and that by sheer coincidence they just happen to include all the cases set for a hearing tomorrow? That is not the way justice is suppose to function!
After taking the Twin Peaks case out of the hands of law enforcement, Reyna indicted the Twin Peaks cases more than two years ago after what he told the public then was a full investigation by his office. Earlier this month and on the eve of a hearing into allegations of his political opportunism and cronyism, the dam finally broke and Reyna dismissed numerous cases set for a hearing. Moreover, those dismissals came only after Reyna’s embarrassing and failed attempts to recuse Judge Strother from holding the hearing in the first place. Now, today, Reyna has filed numerous more dismissals and recusals and it just so happens he filed them the day before another attempted hearing into allegations of his political opportunism and cronyism.
It is important to note that Reyna’s office told defense attorneys last week to expect these dismissals, but, presumably to get as much early voting done as possible, he waited until the very last moment to publicly announce the dismissals and recusals.
The game being played by Abelino Reyna is obvious. He is afraid to have a hearing into his actions and he will go to any lengths, no matter how embarrassingly transparent, to avoid such a hearing. Meanwhile, even though Reyna waits until the eve of hearings to file dismissals for cases that should never have been indicted, he insults the intelligence of McLennan County citizens by claiming that the dismissals are the result of a further investigation of the cases. Mr. Reyna again needs to be reminded that, in America, prosecutors investigate before they indict and do not wait for hearings into their political opportunism to evaluate cases for dismissal. Indeed, Reyna claims he is simply doing what is “right,” but why has it taken him almost three years to do what it “right.”
It was anticipated that at the hearing, Michael Jarrett and Amanda Dillon, both current assistants in Reyna’s office, would be required to admit under an oath that they have had several discussions with FBI Agent Daniel Brust regarding the FBI’s investigation of Reyna. We hope that the press, in the finest tradition of journalism, will seek out the truth and question Jarrett and Dillon with how many times they met Agent Brust regarding the FBI investigation of Reyna or communicated with Agent Brust through third parties.
While the defendants whose cases have been dismissed are, of course, relieved to have the weight of a criminal indictment off of their shoulders they hope that nobody is blind to the games that Abel Reyna has played with their lives."
Below is the statement sent by Reyna's office.