4 plead guilty in Hells Angels case in Vegas
Posted at: 07/26/2013 4:06 PM
By KEN RITTER
(AP) LAS VEGAS - Four Hells Angels pleaded guilty Friday in Las Vegas to a single felony charge apiece stemming from a 2008 brawl with rival Mongols motorcycle gang members that authorities said left six people hurt at a downtown wedding chapel.
The pleas by Dominic Orlando, Frederick O’Dell, Brandon Young and John Dawson brought to five the number of men who have taken plea deals to avoid a retrial on multiple charges including attempted murder, conspiracy and taking part in activities of a criminal gang.
A sixth co-defendant, Armando Porras, is due to plead guilty Aug. 2 to the same charge. Porras’ lawyer, Chris Rasmussen, has said his client isn’t a Hells Angels member and wants to put the case behind him.
Orlando, O’Dell, Young, Dawson and Porras will face one to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine at sentencing scheduled in December.
One defendant, James Sexey, balked Friday at pleading guilty as scheduled to two felonies _ coercion with force and battery with substantial bodily harm with the intent to promote, further or assist the activities of a criminal gang.
Sexey’s lawyer, Dean Kajioka, said his client decided to instead stand trial beginning Aug. 5 with another accused Hells Angels member, John Merchant.
Friday’s developments came after one other co-defendant, Jeffrey Murray, pleaded guilty July 17 to coercion with force and battery with substantial bodily harm with the criminal gang element.
Merchant’s lawyer, Tom Pitaro, was in the courtroom for Friday’s pleas by his client’s co-defendants. Pitaro declined to comment afterward about how the pleas by six of eight men who stood trial with Merchant last summer would affect a retrial.
Prosecutors allege Murray, Merchant and Sexey stabbed two Mongols during the December 2008 melee at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel.
Prosecutors Marc DiGiacomo and Sonia Jimenez say videotape shows an unprovoked attack.
Defense lawyers say their clients acted in self-defense just three months after the Hells Angels’ San Francisco chapter president was killed by a Mongols member outside a Bay Area bar.
No one was arrested immediately after the Las Vegas brawl. Police investigated for more than a year before 13 men were indicted in July 2010.
Trial last August for the first eight defendants ended in a mistrial when a judge ruled that prosecutors failed to fully turn over to defense attorneys evidence including photographs and documents.
Trials are still pending for five other defendants: Charles Goldsmith, Brad Goldsmith, Joseph Gennuso, Joshua Ramos and Samuel Murray.
The case in Las Vegas is not connected with a trial continuing in Reno for a Vagos motorcycle club member accused of shooting the president of the Hells Angels San Jose, Calif., chapter to death during a September 2011 brawl at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks.
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(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)