The leader of a Fort Worth motorcycle gang was found guilty Friday in the ambush and killing of a rival club’s member at a Riverside bar in 2014.
The jury deliberated most of the day Friday in the case against Howard Wayne Baker, 62, the president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Bandidos, a notorious motorcycle club, or gang.
He was found guilty of murder, aggravated assault, engaging in organized crime and directing a street gang.
The punishment phase of the trial begins Tuesday. Baker faces life in prison.
Prosecutors said that Baker gave the orders to shoot Geoffrey Brady, 41, of Arlington on Dec. 12, 2014, during an ambush at Gator’s Jam Inn, a Race Street bar that has since closed. Two other men were wounded in the ambush.
One witness said once the Bandidos entered the bar that night, “the shooting started.”
Tim Choy and Jim Lane, the attorneys defending Baker, did not put any witnesses on the stand or present any evidence after Tarrant County prosecutors rested their case Thursday.
But Choy said the state did not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
“They want you to help them out,” Choy said about the state’s case.
What is missing from the state’s case is evidence that Baker organized or gave the order to raid at Gator’s, or shot anyone during the ambush, the defense attorneys said.
Prosecutors argued that they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Baker was the president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Bandidos. As president, Baker is the deciding voice to undertake such a raid.
Furthermore, under the state’s Law of Parties, Baker is criminally responsible for any of the outcomes during the raid, said Pamela Boggess, Tarrant County assistant district attorney.
Boggess hugged Brady’s wife after the verdict was read and said the family was happy with Friday’s outcome.
“It’s been two-and-a-half years and justice is served,” Boggess said.
Defense attorneys also attacked the state’s case for its lack of consistency in witness testimony.
One witness testified that a circle of men began firing at Brady who was in the center, according to Choy. But only two shell casings were recovered, Choy said. And none of the guns that were collected by law enforcement matched the shells or the bullets that were recovered, Choy said.
But Boggess countered that the witnesses were focused on different things. According to testimony, several of the men who entered Gator’s on the night of the shooting were wearing motorcycle helmets and could not be identified. Other witnesses said they were ducking from the gunfire and did not see any faces or see anyone holding guns.
“Different witnesses saw different things,” Boggess said. “If everyone had come in with the same story the defense would say that they all got together and made it up.”
Baker, who had been free on bail, was taken to jail after the verdict was read. While awaiting the jury’s decision, Baker laughed with his attorneys and the court bailiffs, sat on the hard courtroom pews with his head bowed, and paced the aisles.
Baker removed his shirt, watch and tie and then handed them to a teary family member as the bailiffs prepared to take him into custody.
Two others suspects — Robert Stover and Nicholas Povendo — were arrested in connection with Brady’s slaying. Stover has been charged with engaging in organized crime in the Brady shooting, but no trial date has been set. Stover, however, has a June 19 court date for an unrelated assault charge, court records show.
Povendo, who was arrested in connection with the slaying, had his case dismissed by the Tarrant County district attorney’s office, according to an order signed on Aug. 13, 2015.