In case of outlaw motorcycle gang killing in Sansom Park, Tarrant judge declares mistrial

A state district judge in Tarrant County last week declared a mistrial when she concluded a jury was unable to reach a verdict in a motorcycle gang killing case in which a man was stabbed to death outside a Sansom Park bar in 2020.

Anthony Patterson is a member of the Pagan’s outlaw gang, the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office allegation. Patterson and two other men were indicated in connection with the slaying of Christopher Johnson, whom they falsely believed to be a member of Hells Angels, a rival gang, the district attorney’s office alleged.

A jury in October found one of the codefendants guilty of offenses in a similar indictment. Prosecutors on Thursday sought the dismissal of the indictment in the case of the other codefendant, who was a cooperating witness for the state.

Johnson, 29, was stabbed in a parking lot after Patterson, 27, and others forced him from the bar, according to the district attorney’s office.

A grand jury indicted Patterson on engaging in organized criminal activity-murder; murder; two counts of engaging in organized criminal activity-aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

State District Judge Elizabeth Beach presided at the trial in Criminal District Court No. 1. Testimony began on April 4, and jury instructions were filed on Monday, suggesting the panel began to deliberate on that day. Beach on Thursday declared a mistrial on each of the six counts in the indictment.

Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Phil Sorrells suggested in a statement to a reporter that his office’s future course in the case was under consideration.

“Neither the state nor the defense requested a mistrial. The judge declared it on her own. We are researching whether we can retry this case in light of the court’s decision to declare a mistrial,” wrote Sorrells.

James Martin, an attorney who represented Patterson, declined to offer an assessment of Beach’s mysterious declaration.

“I would not want to prejudice either side’s right to a fair trial if this case has to be tried again,” Martin wrote in an email.

The case has been prosecuted by Tarrant County Assistant Criminal District Attorneys Page Simpson, Dani Wojciak and Steve Elliot.

With Martin, Robert Cowie and Mark Streiff representing Patterson.

Patterson was, with Christopher Bailey and Nathaniel McCurdy, arrested in February 2021 as they attended a Pagan’s rally in Hunt County.

Johnson died of a stab wound in his back. He was stabbed about 1:30 am on Oct. 24, 2020, outside Eight Balls Billiard and Bar in the 5800 block of Jacksboro Highway.

An argument inside the bar moved to the parking lot, where about eight people fought and Johnson was stabbed, the police have said.

A jury on Oct. 26, 2022, found McCurdy, 37, guilty on six counts in a similar indictment to Patterson’s, and Beach sentenced him to 50 years in prison.

On Thursday, the day Beach declared a mistrial in the Patterson trial, the district attorney’s office filed a motion to dismiss the indictment that charged Bailey, who is 30.

For the Patterson trial, Beach ordered security measures sought by the district attorney’s office. The judge ordered law enforcement officers to require trial spectators to identify themselves by driver’s license or identification card and surrender cellphones.

During McCurdy’s trial, two attempts were made on the life of Bailey, the district attorney’s office wrote in a motion requesting the measures. Bailey was placed under guard during the McCurdy trial.

About six weeks before the Patterson trial began, Bailey was attacked by two masked people because, Bailey believed, he was cooperating with the state’s prosecution of Patterson.

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