By OLIVIA MESSER
The Texas Commission on Jail Standards performed an unannounced inspection of the McLennan County Jail and adjacent Jack Harwell Detention Center after 37 online complaints were received from suspects jailed after the May 17 shootout at Twin Peaks restaurant.
The complaints alleged inadequate health care, inedible food, degrading treatment and sanitation issues. But the inspection, performed May 28, found both facilities in compliance with state standards, officials said.
“An inspector reviewed the conditions of confinement while she was there on site, and we did not find any violations of minimum jail standards,” said Brandon Wood, executive director of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.
Wood said a total of 10 inmates had 28 complaints issued on their behalf that fell within the purview of the commission to investigate. The other nine complaints were not within the commission’s jurisdiction.
“She did review all of those (complaints) on site, and there were no issues,” Wood said.
“Normally, we don’t receive that many complaints on a single facility over a seven-day period,” Wood said.
Many of the complaints had similar wording and appeared to follow a template, leading officials to think they were the result of a form letter that was circulated, he said.
Houston attorney Paul C. Looney said his clients William and Morgan English, 33 and 34, of Brenham, who were released Monday on $25,000 bonds, reported they felt they had been “degraded and dehumanized repeatedly without any provocation” while in custody.
Looney said the couple alleged a range of poor conditions related to food, cleanliness and crowding.
“They said there were visible bugs in the food from time to time,” he said. “They both lost nearly 20 pounds because the food didn’t even appear to be safe.”
He added, “People are eating only what they can tell is not infested with bugs.”
Looney said his clients did not submit complaints to the commission on jail standards.
Judy Bergman said her jailed husband — Burton George Bergman, 48, of Dallas — is innocent and called her from the scene after nine people were killed and 18 were injured in the shooting. Police described a restaurant and parking lot full of bodies, blood spatters and weapons amid half-eaten burgers and half-drunk margaritas.
Bergman said her husband, who is affiliated with the Desgraciados Motorcycle Club and is a truck driver, was walking up to the scene when the events unfolded.
“He called me and said: ‘Honey, I love you. This may be the last time I ever talk to you because there’s a shooting,’ ” she said.
She added, “He wasn’t near it, and he didn’t have a gun on him.”
Now, Bergman said, her family is struggling to make up for the lost income while her husband is stuck in jail with a bond that has been reduced from an original $1 million to $100,000.
“I don’t have that money,” she said.
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