Prosecutors and defense attorneys rested their cases Thursday in the trial of a motorcycle gang leader suspected of issuing the orders to kill a rival gang member.
Closing arguments in the case are scheduled for Friday.
According to prosecutors, Howard Baker, the 62-year-old president of the Fort Worth chapter of the Bandidos, a notorious motorcycle club, directed and participated in the Dec. 12, 2014, slaying of Geoffrey Brady at Gator’s Jam Inn, a Riverside-area bar that closed about a month after the shooting, according to testimony. Two other men were wounded.
Baker is accused of engaging in organized crime and directing the activities of a street gang.
According to witnesses at the trial, the Bandidos use fear and intimidation to extort money from motorcycle clubs statewide. Tarrant County prosecutor Pamela Boggess asked Capt. Devin Gonzales, a Texas Department of Public Safety investigator who testified Thursday, to put those tactics in perspective for the jury.
Intimidation “is huge to them,” Gonzales told the jury. “They ride around in their [vests] and let the other gangs know who is in charge.”
The Bandidos claim Texas as their turf and demand payment or an agreement for use of the word “Texas” on patches worn by their members and other motorcycle clubs, witnesses said.
Witnesses testified this week that they knew there was tension between the Bandidos and another outlaw motorcycle gang operating in Texas, the Cossacks, over the use of the word on the emblems they wear on their riding vests, which they refer to as “cuts.”
The Ghost Riders and the Winos also use “Texas” on their patches and members of both clubs were at Gator’s when Brady was slain, according to testimony.
The Bandidos run statewide organizations that motorcycle clubs use to carry on their business, according to gang expert Doug Pearson, who testified Monday.
The Bandidos “came in with a purpose,” Allenna Bangs, Tarrant County assistant district attorney, said Monday about the ambush at Gator’s. “They were going to let other bikers know they were on their turf. They stopped a woman on her way in and told her, ‘You don’t want to go in there.’ ”
Moments after gang members turned the the woman and her friend around, the bar erupted in gunfire, according to witnesses.
Baker “is president of the Bandidos and this type of attack could not have happened without his knowledge and consent,” Bangs said.
In May 2015, open warfare between the Bandidos and the Cossacks erupted in Waco during a meeting at a restaurant that left nine people dead and led to more than 160 arrests.
Two others suspected of Bandidos membership — Robert Stover and Nicholas Povendo — were arrested in connection with Brady’s slaying. Stover, who has been charged with engaging in organized crime and in an unrelated assault case, has a court date June 19, but no trial date has been set on the organized crime charge.
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. The case against Povendo was filed under a suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm by a concealed handgun license holder, court documents show.
Tarrant County Deputy Medical Examiner Richard Fries testified Wednesday that three bullets struck Brady and that two of them could have ended his life.
“Even with immediate medical attention it is unlikely he would have survived, given the type of wounds he received,” Fries said. By “immediately,” Fries said he meant, “You would have to be shot in the operating room.”