Waco Biker Tragedy

Waco Tragedy News

Stuck behind bars: Families await biker releases as lawyers claim innocence

May 27, 2015, 3:18 pm

By J.B. Smith

The jailing of 175 people in the deadly Twin Peaks shooting has left some local families in a desperate cycle of waiting, worrying and trying to clear their loved ones’ names.

John Wilson and his 28-year-old son, Jake, remain locked up together in McLennan County Jail while their Harley-Davidson shop on Interstate 35, Legend Cycles, is closed indefinitely.

 

Cody Ledbetter, a 26-year-old with a pregnant wife and toddler, missed the funeral of his stepfather and motorcycle mentor, Danny “Diesel” Boyett, one of the nine people who died in the gunbattle.

In Robinson, the wife and young daughter of Boyce Ray Rockett are anxious for the return of the family’s breadwinner.

And in Hewitt, family members of Matt Clendennen are struggling to run his landscaping business and handle awkward questions from customers, acquaintances and his four children and stepchildren.

“I think the hardest part is telling your 4-year-old son, ‘Your dad’s not coming home yet,’ ” said his wife, Sheree Clendennen. “He wants to be like his daddy, wants to do the mowing or whatever. That’s been real hard. . . . I try not to let him know about what’s going on. He’s in pre-K and needs to be learning about getting his shapes and colors right.”

These five are among the 24 McLennan County residents being held on $1 million bond in the Twin Peaks shooting. Interviews this week with their attorneys and families indicate that all five are members of the Cossacks or Scimitar motorcycle clubs, which Waco police say clashed with the rival Bandidos Motorcycle Club in the Twin Peaks parking lot just after noon.

Accounts from their attorneys and families share a common thread: that these were family-oriented men who didn’t go to the restaurant looking for trouble.

Dozens of Cossacks and Scimitars showed up around lunchtime at the restaurant, where a 1 p.m. meeting was scheduled for the Texas Confederation of Clubs and Independents, a biker advocacy group.

The Bandidos are heavily involved in the confederation, but the Cossacks and their allies the Scimitars are not part of it. Police last week said a group of bikers showed up uninvited to the gathering, presumably referring to the Cossacks.

But Michael White, a Bell County attorney representing John Wilson, said his client had a much different understanding. Wilson, a top officer of the local Cossacks chapter, said police had encouraged the Bandidos and Cossacks to mend fences, and he thought his club was welcome at the Twin Peaks meet-up, White said.

“He is devastated and his wife is devastated,” White said. “He told me very clearly that he never would have brought his son to something that was going to be a volatile, hostile environment.”

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