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Monday, April 22, 2019

Gary Gauger: Investigating innocence claims

McHenry County, Illinois, USA (April 22, 2019) BTN — Gary Gauger awoke early the morning of April 8, 1993, to a heavy rainfall beating on the windows of his Richmond home, dampening his plans to transplant seedlings on the family farm.

While Gauger went back to sleep, two members of the Outlaws motorcycle club made their way to the motorcycle repair shop that Gauger’s father operated in a garage near the farm. Although Outlaws members James Schneider and Randall Miller were responsible for robbing and murdering Ruth and Morrie Gauger that day, it would take law enforcement three years to come to that conclusion.

In the meantime, Gary Gauger was pinned for his parents’ murders and sentenced to death by lethal injection. After serving 3½ years in prison and nine months on death row, his conviction was overturned in 1996.

Exonerated McHenry County men weigh in on proposed legislation

Gauger was aided in his appeal process by Northwestern University Law Professor Lawrence Marshall, who founded the Center on Wrongful Convictions. “The police get a theory on what happened and they don’t seem to care if it doesn’t match the facts,” Gauger said. “They just work on their theory.”

Illinois Innocence Project co-founder Bill Clutter asked Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul last week to support legislation that would create a “conviction integrity unit” to investigate innocence claims. A statewide unit in Illinois would benefit counties that don’t have the funds to implement their own conviction review boards, or simply don’t see enough claims of actual innocence to justify an integrity unit, Clutter said.

Today Gauger, 65, lives on a farm just yards away from the site of his parents’ murder. He leads a quiet, secluded life with his wife, Sue Reckenthaler, and their dog, Diego. “This is my home,” Gauger said Wednesday. “I’m not going to let those guys run me out of my home.”

Gauger’s case is one of two in McHenry County in which perjury or false accusations, official misconduct, and false confessions have led to convictions and subsequent exonerations since 1989, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. 

Mario Casciaro was convicted in March 2013 of killing Johnsburg teen Brian Carrick. He served 22 months in the Menard Correctional Center on a 26-year sentence before the Second District Appellate Court overturned his conviction in September 2015. 

Although he doesn’t feel McHenry County is “progressive enough” for its own integrity unit, the area would benefit from a statewide effort, he said. “McHenry County specifically is probably a little bit too small right now, but in the future, if there’s continued growth in the population, I imagine there should be an independent conviction investigation unit,” Casciaro said.

Illinois has a history of wrongful convictions. Former Gov. George Ryan labeled the state’s system of capital punishment “haunted by the demon of error” when he halted executions in 2000. 

By the time Illinois abolished the Death Penalty in 2011, wrongful death sentences imposed on 20 people had been reversed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. 

The Illinois Second District Appellate Court, which includes McHenry County, saw 445 criminal appeals in 2017, according to the Administrative Office of Illinois Courts. Of those, 393 cases were disposed. 

In Cook County, where former state’s attorney Anita Alvarez created a Chicago-based conviction integrity unit in 2012, the office receives about 150 applications annually from those convicted of felonies, but many do not meet criteria for review, spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said. 

Seventy convictions have been reversed since 2017, Simonton said. 

A similar system in Lake County successfully helped exonerate Jason Strong, a man previously convicted of killing Carpentersville resident Mary Kate Sunderlin. “I thought, ‘Man what’s going on?’ This doesn’t happen,” Strong said. “This is like what happens only in the movies.”

For a case to be considered by Lake County’s panel, the defendant’s claim must contain new evidence that was not known at the time of trial, previously untested evidence, or some other affirmation of innocence. Strong is a proponent for the conviction integrity panel that helped exonerate him, and attributes its success to objective thinking within the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. 

“I admire that, and I think that if you have that kind of quality in a prosecutor then you’re going to get a better integrity unit,” Strong said. Both Gauger and Casciaro generally are proponents for conviction integrity units. Gauger’s experience, however, has left him with doubts about whether McHenry County could handle a unit of its own. “How do you get politics out of McHenry County?” Gauger said. “It’s difficult.”

Casciaro has also been critical of how McHenry County prosecutors handled his case, going as far as to call State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally “delusional.” Kenneally has stood by his office’s handling of the case, and said he’s a proponent of taking every reasonable step to prevent wrongful convictions. The state’s attorney is reserving judgment on the idea of a statewide conviction integrity, however, until he can review an actual Attorney General Office’s policy.

In an email Tuesday, Kenneally cited an analysis by University of Utah law professor Paul Cassell to emphasize his belief that people often overlook the context surrounding wrongful convictions. Cassell estimated the wrongful conviction rate in the U.S. to be between 0.016% and 0.062%, Kenneally said.

“In other words, the criminal justice system gets it right in more than 99.9% of the cases,” he said. “In a system where, in keeping with basic democratic rights, the fundamental decision-makers are ordinary, everyday and imperfect human beings, this is incredibly good.” 

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Motorcycle Club agrees on right to choose

Brighton, Michigan, USA (April 20, 2019) BTN — It's been seven years since the universal motorcycle helmet law was repealed in Michigan and the debate between whether riders should wear a helmet or have the choice to wear a helmet is still going strong.

Channel 6 News got the chance to go to the Forbidden Wheels Motorcycle Clubhouse in Brighton. One member named Jerry Jaskloski, also known as 'Jitterbug' has been riding since he was 16 years old and rode for only three years with no helmet law. "Just about turning nineteen the helmet law came on," said Jaskloski.

For most of his years riding, the law was in place, until April of 2012, when the law was repealed and riders had the choice to wear or not wear a helmet. Jaskloski says he was used to wearing his helmet when the law changed but over time, he slowly stopped wearing it. He added that when it hails, rains, etc., is usually the only time when he wears it.

Another rider, Russell Cockerham, says whether it's rain or shine, it's his decision to wear it or not wear it. "I was happy it got passed, not because I'm going to stop wearing my helmet, I'm happy I got my choice," said Cockerham.

According to study done by the Center for Management of Information for Safe and Sustainable Transportation, the percentage of riders who were wearing a helmet while involved in an accident dropped from 97.7 percent in 2011, to 68.8 percent in 2017. It also showed the the number of motorcycle accidents isn't increasing, but the number of fatal motorcycle accidents are.

The study also compared the number of accidents before and after the law was modified and how many of those were fatal.

Channel 6 News took the topic to our WLNS Facebook page where we asked people to vote whether they think riders should always wear a helmet or it should be the riders choice. After the poll was closed, 66 percent of people voted that motorcyclists should always wear a helmet and 34 percent voted that it should be the motorcyclists choice.


Cops go after Rebels MC President

Sydney, Australia (April 20, 2019) BTN — The cops are seeking a court order that will ban Rebels Motorcycle Club National President Damian "Big D" Vella from associating with his mates for two years, by using the state’s tough anti-bikie laws.

The NSW Police have applied to the NSW Supreme Court for an order under 2016 laws that aim to make life so hard for bikies that they give up being bikies.

If the cops are successful, Big D won’t be able to approach any member, former member, associate, hang around, nominee or prospect of an Motorcycle Club. He also won’t be allowed to travel in “any vehicle” between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am except “in the case of a genuine medical emergency”.

The police also want him banned from any location vaguely connected to any motorcycle club, and the police want him banned from using any encrypted communication device, including apps like Whatsapp, or even owning more than one phone.

Vella became the Rebels national president after his uncle, Alex Vella, was stranded in Malta when Australian authorities cancelled his visa. The case will return to court on August 1.

SOURCE: The Daily Telegraph

Gypsy Joker MC members stopped at airport

Perth, Australia (April 20, 2019) BTN — Five international motorcycle club members including three Gypsy Jokers and two associates of the club have been banned from entering the country after being stopped at Perth Airport.

The men all arrived in Perth in the past week to attend an event being held on Saturday night to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the motorcycle club.

Baggage search bench at Perth Airport

But the Australian Border Force (ABF) said they were all stopped and questioned before having their visas cancelled because "they presented a risk to the health, safety or good order of the Australian community, or a segment of the community".

The men included two Germans, aged 33 and 61, a 34-year-old Norwegian and two Spaniards aged 43 and 44. The ABF said the German pair, both members of the Gypsy Jokers, arrived in Perth on a flight from Hong Kong on Monday night.

The Spanish men, both club associates, also arrived on Monday on a flight from Dubai. The Norwegian member of the Gypsy Jokers arrived on a flight from Singapore on Wednesday. The ABF said the men were held at the Perth immigration detention centre before being sent home.

ABF regional commander for WA Rod O'Donnell said they were focussed on disrupting the activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs.

"These gangs pose a significant threat to our community and are known to be involved in serious criminal activity including drug trafficking and violent crime," he said. "Any non-citizen involved with a criminal organisation, including outlaw motorcycle gangs, can expect to have their Australian visa cancelled on arrival and be removed from the country."

The event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gypsy Jokers, at the motorcycle club's Maddington clubhouse in Perth's south-eastern suburbs, is expected to be watched closely by police.


Friday, April 19, 2019

Outlaws MC member killed in accident

Tampa, Florida (April 19, 2019) BTN —  Sunday night, a car turned into the path of motorcyclist Mike Tapp on Dale Mabry Highway. To avoid a collision, the biker braked hard and lost control, throwing him and his passenger to the pavement.

The biker died and the passenger, his longtime girlfriend, was seriously injured. The driver of the car didn't stop and the Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the person who was behind the wheel.

Mike Tapp, Boston Mike to his friends, hugs friend Gina Henry in December after buying the 2016 Harley Davidson Street Glide at left. Tapp, 49, was killed Sunday when a driver turned into his path while he was riding on Dale Mabry Highway. [Courtesy of Andrew Mora]

It's the kind of crash that would have angered Mike Tapp and spurred him to action.

A friend of the couple, Andrew Mora, is now offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the driver. If Tapp were around, his friends say, he would light up Facebook with the reward offer, determined to do his part for members of his biker family. But the 49-year-old Tampa father was the motorcyclist killed in the crash, and his longtime partner, 46-year-old Kymberle Meade, is still in the hospital.

"He really was a pillar," said Mora, owner of Moramoto, the motorcycle dealership where Tapp bought the 2016 Harley-Davidson Street Glide he was riding Sunday. "If someone were in need, he would be the first to help."

Known as Boston Mike for his native city, Tapp had lived in Florida for many years. He and Meade had been together nearly three decades and had children together.

Tapp was a proud member of the American Outlaw Association, one of the biggest motorcycle clubs in the country, his friends said. Law enforcement considers the Outlaws a criminal gang, but Tapp was far from a menace to society, Mora said. For Tapp, the club was about camaraderie centered on a shared passion for riding.

When a friend needed a hand, Tapp would help spread the word, taking to Facebook and banging out public posts in all capital letters. Most days, he'd wake up early and send friends messages with irreverent memes and the latest news in the biker scene.

"He was the one of the funniest, most humble guys I've ever met," Mora said.

Tapp had worked a variety of jobs over the years, from fueling planes at a local airport to manning phones at corporate call centers, said friend Morley Henry, 35. Tapp and Meade often hosted cookouts where Tapp served up his signature chicken marsala.

"He was that personality who walks into a room and everything lights up," said Henry, a motorcycle technician at Moramoto. "It didn't matter was mood you were in, put a smile on your face. He went out of his way to make everybody happy."

In December, Tapp traded in his old Street Glide with 90,000 miles on the odometer and bought a 2016 model, Mora said. Within a couple of months, he put about 10,000 miles on that bike.

On the night of the crash, Tapp and Meade were riding north on Dale Mabry when the driver of a small, light-colored sedan heading south turned across their path to head east on West Idlewild Avenue, just north of Bill Currie Ford, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers released footage of the crash caught by a surveillance camera at the Volvo dealership across Dale Mabry, but the camera is too far way to determine the make and model of the car.

"You can see clearly the action of that car caused the crash even though they didn't collide," said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a spokesman for the Highway Patrol.

It's unclear what, if anything, the driver would be charged with if identified, however. Troopers would have to confer with the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office, Gaskins said.

Mora said the driver should come forward. Otherwise, he's hoping his reward will provide an incentive to someone who knows something.

"We'll never have closure," Mora said, "so the only thing we can possibly have is justice."

SOURCE: Tampa Bay Times

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cop arrested in drug bust granted parole

Repentigny, Quebec (April 18, 2019) BTN – A police officer who was arrested along with dozens of people rounded up following a major drug trafficking investigation into the Hells Angels has been granted parole on the 18-month sentence he received in January.

Carl Ranger, a member of the Repentigny police when he was arrested in Project Objection last year, quit the police force shortly after he was charged. He admitted that in 2017 he approached an undercover agent who was involved in Project Objection and asked him for a $6,000 loan, and then broke the law to get it.

The undercover agent said he would agree to the loan if Ranger did a few favours for him. The first was to research a license plate in a police database for the undercover agent, who was posing as a criminal. After carrying out that task, Ranger agreed to transport 10,000 meth pills to a drug dealer and returned with $10,000 for the undercover agent.

When Ranger pleaded guilty in October, no evidence presented in court suggested that what he agreed to had anything to do with the Hells Angels. Several full-patch members of the motorcycle club have been arrested since April last year, when the first series of arrests were carried out. Some have since pleaded guilty to running drug trafficking networks in different parts of the province.

According to a written copy of the decision made by the Commission québécoise des libérations conditionnelles on Monday, Ranger said his career as a police officer spiralled after he discovered the body of a woman who had been murdered in 2008. He said he slipped into a depression following the gruesome discovery and he received minimal support from the police force. He said he drank more and fell into financial trouble after he took a leave of absence to deal with his depression.

Ranger was eligible for parole after having served one-sixth of his sentence.

This story will be updated.
SOURCE: Montreal Gazette

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Hells Angels have left the building

New York, NY (April 16, 2019) BTN — Since 1968, 77 East Third Street in Manhattan's East Village housed the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club's New York City clubhouse and apartments for some of its members. But the building was recently sold and the Angels have purchased new digs, a former church on Long Island.

The New Yorker's Sarah Larson stopped by on moving day and wrote the article below.

On a drizzly Sunday at the end of March, a white-and-yellow moving van occupied a space in front of 77 East Third Street that had long been reserved—and carefully delineated with traffic cones—for gleaming Harley-Davidson choppers. From August, 1969, until that day, the six-story lightly gargoyled Renaissance Revival apartment building with a first-floor brick façade was the New York City headquarters of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club. Its distinctive front door, between two Doric columns painted with sevens, depicted a motorcycle-helmeted skeleton gleefully wielding a pitchfork atop a bed of flaming skulls.

Related | Hells Angels might sell their 3rd Street clubhouse 

A plaque read “in memory of big vinny 1948-1979: ‘when in doubt, knock ’em out.’ ” That day, the Post’s front-page headline was “hell freezes over: yuppies bounce snowflake bikers out of east village.” After fifty years, the Hells Angels were moving out.

Hells Angels near their New York clubhouse on East Third Street between First and Second Avenue in March 1971.

The building had functioned as both clubhouse and Angels-only apartment complex. Its buyer, Nathan Blatter, of Whitestone Realty Group, has been approached by someone who wants to open a Hells Angels museum there, but he is not interested. “It’s going to be a regular apartment building,” he said. That day, several brawny men in vests that said “prospect”—a club membership level between “hang-around” and “full patch”—did the heavy lifting from No. 77 to the van: a metal shelving unit, shipping containers, a stray broom. The club had been moving out piecemeal. Its infamous park-style sidewalk bench, tempting to look at but dangerous for civilians to sit on, was gone.

Earlier in the month, a student from the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, next door, saw members moving boxes out of the basement; another neighbor reported seeing the emergence of “motorcycle stuff and other unmentionable paraphernalia.” He warned an onlooker to stay away. “It’s like a skunk—you touch it and you start to stink,” he said, and hurried off. Other neighbors, though wary of being identified, were more wistful. At a dive bar, two veterans of the eighties post-punk scene—call them Nancy and Janet—reminisced over a glass of house red, with ice cubes.

“I’m going to miss the sound of their motorcycles,” Janet said. She moved to the East Village in 1980. “They’d have big Fourth of July parties. We’d go up to my roof and the fireworks would come right up to your face.” The Angels launched their fireworks from metal garbage cans. (A local illustrator described this as “absolutely terrifying.”) “The parties used to be great,” Nancy said. “Until the explosion.” In 1990, a garbage-can firecracker killed a fourteen-year-old boy.

Over the years, the East Village Angels both caused and prevented mayhem. In 1994, the Times characterized this mayhem, part “lore and part police reports,” as “countless decibel-cranking parties, LSD-laced misadventures, drug deals, orgies and random acts of violence against passers-by.” In recent years, parking-space tussles resulted in beatings and a shooting; a woman who pounded on the door, screaming, was badly beaten.

In 1978, the chapter president, Vincent (Big Vinny) Girolamo, of plaque fame, allegedly pushed his girlfriend off the roof, to her death. (He died, of stab wounds, before he could stand trial.) Innumerable bad vibes were doled out after unwanted bench-sitting, dog-peeing, and photography incidents. But, from the scuzz era to the N.Y.U.-and-condos era, club members also defended their neighbors; the Angels’ block was considered the safest around.

“I haven’t heard anybody say ‘Good riddance,’ ” Janet said.

“I’ll miss the way they decorated at Christmas,” Nancy said. “They used to break people’s cameras,” Janet said. In the Instagram age, unwanted photography had skyrocketed.

The group is aggressively private. Only members were allowed inside the clubhouse—but Janet, decades ago, was invited in after a peppery conversation with an Angel. “I was scared shitless and trying to be tough,” she said. The interior, she recalled, “was like a suburban house”—couches and so on. “The women were cleaning and the men were partying.

Where were the Angels going? “I don’t know yet,” a prospect said. “Goin’ somewhere!” Would they miss the East Village? A wary, noncommittal nod. When the van was almost full, the Angels packed one final item: a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, eased onto a truck lift, raised up, and strapped in. A ponytailed Angel picked up a little girl, hoisted her onto his shoulders in front of the Big Vinny sign, and, smiling, posed for a picture. After some inter-Angel hugs and back pats, the men drove away. By the next afternoon, the plaques, signs, and flaming skulls were gone. ♦

SOURCE: The New Yorker

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Freeway Rider's MC free to fly colors

Hagen, Germany (April 14, 2019) BTN – Ministry of Interior sees no handle: Why the motorcycle club Freeway Rider's in Hagen may continue to show their colors, while the motorcycle club Bandidos may not.

Will this step generally lead to de-escalation? Probably at the end of this week, the first trial in the Hagener Rocker war with the confession of a Hagener Bandidos will come to an end. The 31-year-old will then admit that he has shot on the Saarlandstraße on a car in which sat members of the enemy Freeway Riders - and then probably go for about three and a half years in custody.

Displeasure at Bandidos peak

As can be heard from the environment of the Bandidos, the disputes with the Freeway Riders in Hagen with several sometimes bloody acts in public at the leading forces of the rocker grouping in Germany caused displeasure. Accordingly, it is likely for the Hagener Bandidos who try to gain a foothold here since 2016, give little support for further clashes. The official Bandidos spokesman left a request from the WP unanswered.

Nevertheless: The Hagen investigators remain vigilant and want to continue consistently. They are pleased that there have been no serious clashes since the arrests and raids in the fall and winter against Bandidos and Freeway Riders. The self-proclaimed dissolution of the Hagener Bandidos-Chapters , however, is considered more tactical feint.

In the Federal Constitutional Court And indeed, both groups remain present in the cityscape. The bandidos, however, not with the actual club emblem, the shooting Mexican, but with the letters "BMC". Why are not they allowed to show their club signs, but the freeway riders already ? "That's because the Freeway Riders has not yet banned a chapter based on club law," says Wolfgang Beus, spokesman for the NRW Interior Ministry.

This was the case with the Bandidos: in Aachen. "And according to the law, showing the symbols for all chapters is forbidden if one is forbidden," said Beus. The Bochum lawyer Reinhard Peters, who also represents the Bandido in the district court Hagen in the current process, considers this legally untenable. He moved to the Federal Constitutional Court for a client: "Our constitutional complaint has also been accepted unusually quickly for consultation. I expect a decision later this year. "

SOURCE: West Falen Post

Hells Angels MC lay a brother to rest

Prince Edward Island, Canada (April 14, 2019) BTN – Island RCMP and Charlottetown police are on high alert this weekend with Hells Angels members from across the country in P.E.I.

There was a heavy presence of Hells Angels members, as well as several other motorcycle clubs, at a “celebration of life” for fisherman Ian Roulston Kennedy in Three Rivers Saturday.

Kennedy was a full-patch member of the Hells Angels.

Cpl. Andy Cook, the RCMP’s provincial motorcycle club coordinator, said law enforcement stayed close to the funeral for public safety reasons. “The funeral was for a member of the Hells Angels and we’re there for public safety and also for intelligence gathering to do with a large number of Hells Angels who were here in the province,” he said.

Cook said RCMP estimates there were 75 Hells Angels on the Island in total, from every province in Canada. He said due to the history of some Hells Angels members, a law enforcement presence is necessary anytime the club meets in P.E.I.

“As much as I’m sure the Hells Angels didn’t want to see us around, we’re here to protect the public and when they come into a community, because of their reputation, because of their history, they make that place unsafe and we’re not going to let that happen here,” he said. “So they can expect to see us each and every time they come here.”

Cook said there was an incident at a bar in downtown Charlottetown Friday night. “Information was provided to me that someone did get punched by a Hells Angels member last night so certainly we’re worried about the violence,” he said, adding that club members typically do not stay in P.E.I. for long periods of time. “We don’t expect them to be here beyond the weekend.”

RCMP were unable to say whether Kennedy became a full-patch member of the club prior to his death, or posthumously. However, his love for motorcycles and the club was clear during the funeral, which was livestreamed on the Ferguson Logan Montague Funeral Home website.

During a eulogy, Mark Gauthier of Vicious Cycle Motorcycle Club, said Kennedy “completed the program of the biggest motorcycle club in the world, earning his spot amongst them all the while never complaining or expecting any special treatment because of his health.” “He wanted to earn his spot just the same as the guy beside him and that’s exactly what he did."

Gauthier described Kennedy as an adventurous man who fished through chemotherapy and whose memory will live on in the hearts of those he knew. “When we ride, Ian rides,” he said. “When we’re on the water, Ian is on the water.”

SOURCE: The Guardian 

Friday, April 12, 2019

Victim's mother reacts to murder conviction

Edwardsville, Georgia, USA (April 12, 2019) BTN – Former Alton resident Brandon Chittum may spend the rest of his life in prison after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder, but the victim’s mother has an additional punishment in mind.

“He will burn in hell,” said Elizabeth Kovach, the murder of victim Courtney Coats after the hearing. “It’s been a very long time, too long; I’m so happy he was convicted on all three counts.”

Chittum, 35, a former member of the Alton Outlaws motorcycle club, was found guilty Monday of dismembering a human body and concealment of a homicidal death, in addition to the murder charge. State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons said his office, including assistant state’s attorneys Crystal Uhe and Lauren Heischmidt have been fighting for the victim and her family.

Related | Grisly allegations open Chittum trial 

“After five long years fighting to get this case to trial, it is a great relief to know the remaining half of this murderous duo has finally been held fully accountable for this most gruesome crimes against this innocent young woman. This case is a most terrible example of the real-life destruction caused by an alcohol and methamphetamine-fueled life of violence.

He was charged after the Nov. 23, 2013, murder of Coats.

Her boyfriend, Patrick Chase, then violently choked her to unconsciousness, then slit her throat. Chase and Chittum, on a 12-hour bender of liquor and methamphetamine, then dismembered her remains, put them in trash bags and dumped the bags in the Illinois River near Hardin. The bags were found along the store in Greene County.

Chittum, who was charged on Dec. 20, 2013, finally faced trial after five years’ delay caused by an appeal, multiple defense continuances and changing of defense attorneys.

Police investigated the case for 27 days as a missing person. Chase eventually confessed and lead authorities to the spot at which the body was found.

In prison, Chase radically changed his appearance and testified in Court that Chittum was sleeping the entire time he, Chase, was choking, cutting and dismembering the victim.

Assistant State’s Attorney Crystal Uhe argued it is unlikely a man could sleep through such a horrific event. She also noted that Chase’s room mate, Brian Northcutt, was advised to leave the apartment, then returned to find Chittum awake, not wearing a shirt. The water was running in the bathroom, and Chittum told Northcutt to leave again.

“There are things going on here you don’t need to know about,” Chittum said, according to Northcutt’s testimony.

During his testimony, Chase was asked why Thursday was the first time he mentioned to Uhe that Chittum was not involved in the killing. “It slipped my mind,” Chase said.He admitted Chittum drove the body to the Joe Page Bridge, where it was dumped.

He claimed he liked when he detailed in a police interview the way Chittum “coached” him through the death process. Defense attorney Evelyn Lewis suggested the jury may find her client of concealment, which carries a much lighter sentence that murder or dismembering a human body.

She said the idea that the member wanted to “put her out of her misery” amounts to a “mercy killing,” which she termed “a crazy story.”

“Courtney’s death took a terrible toll on so many people around her and, indeed, on our entire community,” Gibbons said Monday in a press release. “I pray this verdict will grant some peace to everyone who knew and loved her and to the Citizens of Madison County.

We can all sleep much safer knowing he will never walk the streets of our community again.”

The murder charge carries a sentenced of between 20 and 60 years in prison. The dismembering charge carries a sentence of between six and 30 years in prison. He has a previous conviction for felony aggravated domestic battery and a misdemeanor conviction for battery and domestic battery.

SOURCE: The Neighbor

Hells Angels Motorcycle Club headed to Clemson

Clemson, South Carolina – (April 12, 2019) BTN – The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is headed to Clemson. According to Clemson Police Chief Jimmy Dixon, around 750 members of the club will descend upon Tigertown as part of their annual summer rally.

Dixon said the Hells Angels were initially planning a visit back in 2017 but ultimately chose another city. Last November, he said he was contacted by the group about their upcoming summer plans. “They gave me an 11-month heads-up to start preparing for their being in Clemson” Dixon said. “These guys are not dumb. They know their reputation.”

Dixon stressed that his department has been in communication with other police and sheriff’s offices that have also had the group visit their towns and cities. He believes it’s in their best interest to work with the bikers, not against them.

“The last time I checked, this is America, and also the last time I checked we don’t have gates at each end and entrance to our city where our officers raise them up and let you come in and go,” Dixon said.

However, the U.S Deptartment of Justice says otherwise. According to its website, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club is listed as an “outlaw motorcycle gang” and is involved in drugs and criminal activity.

The primary concern people in downtown Clemson had about the bikers coming to Tigertown dealt with parking. “Parking is a major problem in Clemson all the time, so this would definitely present a problem,” said downtown store worker Connie McKee. “I’m an open-minded person, and so I think everybody deserves a chance to come in and let us see. Let us experience what they’re like, and maybe we won’t want them to come back, maybe we would.”

WYFF News 4 conducted a Facebook poll to gauge community opinion on the matter. At the time this article was written, 2,500 people voted “let them come” while 380 voted “stay away.”


Cornwall police signs target motorcycle clubs

Cornwall, Ontario – (April 12, 2019) BTN – The Cornwall Police Service (CPS) is striving to reduce the presence of motorcycle clubs locally by launching a “No Gang Colours, No Gang Clothing” program.

“As Cornwall experiences an increased presence of outlaw motorcycle gangs, it is important to send a clear message that the city is not ‘open for business’ to the activities of any criminal enterprises…(this) is a partnership between the police and participating businesses in an effort to stop outlaw motorcycle gangs from intimidating other patrons, and preventing future crimes from occurring on their property,” read a statement in a CPS press release.

The CPS will supply signs to interested local businesses, which clearly state the “No Gang Colour, No Gang Clothing” policy is being enforced through the Trespass to Property Act. The CPS will have authority to enforce the Act for patrons violating the dress code by wearing gang colors or clothing where a sign is posted, in effort of fostering safer and more secure local environments.

“Drug trafficking, fraud, human trafficking, and contraband smuggling are all known to be criminal activities conducted by outlaw gangs, and we want to help our local business community ensure these activities are not occurring on their premises,” explained Det. S/Sgt. Robert Archambault, Criminal Investigations Division.

The CPS will work with participating businesses to help differentiate between outlaw motorcycle gang colours and law-abiding motorcycle clubs. Outlaw gangs often wear patches and pins that denote club status.

In March, the Ontario government announced an investment of $16.4 million over two years towards a Gun and Gang Support Unit, which will enhance major investigations and prosecutions, as well as province-wide intelligence gathering. The province also established a Gun and Gang Specialized Investigations Fund to support joint forces operations.

“In communities across Ontario and here in Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, our government is sending a clear signal that we support the work of the Cornwall Police Service and SDG OPP and community partners to fight back against gun crime and gangs that prey on our young people and put everyone’s safety at risk, ” said MPP Jim McDonell in a press release. “When we help protect at-risk young people, we create safer and stronger communities.”

“In June of 2018, the CPS assisted the Toronto Police Service Gun and Gang Task Force in a gun smuggling investigation, resulting in the seizure of 60 prohibited handguns,” said Stephanie MacRae, CPS Communications Coordinator. “The CPS will continue to work with all partnering agencies in order to assist in preventing these types of weapons from entering our community, in addition to countering organized crime and gang activity in the City of Cornwall.”

The government also announced that it will work with communities to establish justice centres across the province that move justice out of a traditional courtroom and into a community setting.

SOURCE: Seaway News

Gypsy Joker MC murder trial continues

Portland, OR (April 12, 2019) BTN – The star government witness in the torture-style killing of a former Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club member is the man who wielded the fatal blow with a baseball bat strike to the head, a defense lawyer said in court Thursday.

The prosecution’s case largely rests on the words of the actual murderer, Tiler Evan Pribbernow, who has cooperated with the government, said attorney Matthew Schindler, who represents one of the co-defendants in the case.

Schindler called it “outrageous” that prosecutors would allow Pribbernow to plead guilty to only racketeering to leverage his testimony against others. The deal allows Pribbernow to avoid accountability for the killing and save his own life by avoiding a potential death sentence, the lawyer said.

Related | Gypsy Joker MC national president released
Related | Gypsy Joker MC members face charges

“Tiler Pribbernow did it because he’s a lunatic. That’s why,” Schindler said. “We’ve seen one witness statement, and that statement is the statement of the murderer. … He killed this guy.”

Racketeering, kidnapping and murder charges are pending against five others in the 2015 death of Robert “Bagger” Huggins, 56. Loggers found his battered body dumped in a Clark County field. He had a fractured skull, a broken rib, a broken leg, a removed nipple, nails driven through his boots, slash wounds to his back and face and many blows to his face, authorities said.

Schindler was arguing for the pretrial release of his client, Ryan Anthony Negrinelli, now 36. At the time of the killing, Negrinelli was a “prospect’’ to join the club. After the killing, he became a full member who went by the nickname “Striker” before splitting from the club in mid-2018, a prosecutor said.

Schindler said the government has no physical evidence placing Negrinelli at the scene. Negrinelli has no prior criminal record, he said. The lawyer also pointed to Negrinelli’s full custody of his 14-year-old daughter and ties to the community. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Jones ordered Negrinelli to remain in custody, citing the gravity of the alleged offense. But the judge said he wasn’t willing to let the defendants languish in county jail indefinitely while waiting for “some bureaucrat’’ at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., to “make up their mind” and decide whether to pursue the death penalty in the case.

He said he was told it could take up to a year for the decision, and that’s not acceptable. Schindler also urged the judge to discount Negrinelli’s statement to two Portland detectives after his arrest, saying it should be suppressed because the detectives failed to acknowledge Negrinelli’s repeated requests for a lawyer, placed him in a holding cell for eight hours without food and then plied him with leading information about the attack. Negrinelli also told the detectives he suffered from a childhood brain injury that impairs his memory.

The judge said he’d rule on a motion to suppress any statements at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah Bolstad said Negrinelli was involved in a “premeditated, planned hunt of someone who angered the group he was part of.” According to Pribbernow, Portland’s Gypsy Jokers president Mark Leroy Dencklau ordered the attack on Huggins and others helped. The June 30, 2015, kidnapping and subsequent killing was in retaliation for Huggins’ burglary and robbery at Dencklau’s Woodburn home earlier that month, the government alleges. Dencklau is also charged in the killing.

Huggins had targeted Dencklau’s home after getting kicked out of the club for stealing and breaking club rules, Bolstad said. Dencklau’s then-girlfriend was tied up and Huggins stole some of Dencklau’s property, including guns, the prosecutor said.

While Pribbernow is a key witness and has implicated co-defendants, he’s not the only witness, Bolstad said. Information Pribbernow shared with investigators has been corroborated, including use of a Chevy Tahoe by some of the defendants to carry Huggins’ body and dump him in Ridgefield, Wash., she said. DNA from blood found under carpet in the trunk of the Tahoe matched that of Huggins, she said.

According to Bolstad, Negrinelli helped grabbed Huggins in the driveway of a Portland home and put him into an SUV, where he and four others beat him and drove him to a shed in Woodlawn, Wash. Negrinelli helped place Huggins in the shed, where the defendants continued to torture Huggins, according to Bolstad. In his own words, Negrinelli told Portland detectives after his arrest that he “blasted,’’ or punched, Huggins a few times, Bolstad said.

Negrinelli also used water-boarding on Huggins, placing a scarf over his mouth and pouring water into it, triggering a choking response, Bolstad said. He also helped apply burning hot wire to Huggins’ body, she said. While others dumped Huggins’ body, Negrinelli and two co-defendants drove away in another car to discard weapons, throwing baseball bats into brush off the side of a road, Bolstad said.

Kenneth Earl Hause, the national president of the Gypsy Jokers Outlaw Motorcycle Club, is the only one of the defendants who has was released from jail this year to home detention with electric monitoring as he awaits trial. Hause’s circumstances are different, Bolstad argued, because Hause is charged only in the alleged racketeering conspiracy and not with murder.

SOURCE: Oregon Live

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Quebec police arrest dozens in drug raids

Toronto, ON (April 11, 2019) BTN — Police forces in Quebec arrested 33 people Wednesday in relation to an alleged drug network extending from Montreal to Outaouais, Centre-du-Québec, the Montérégie and more. A total of 37 searches were carried out, and police say nearly two kilograms of cocaine and 27,100 methamphetamine pills were seized as part of Operation Orca.

Officers say they also seized 23 vehicles, $120,000, four firearms, six jackets in the colours of the Hells Angels and an escutcheon. Two of those arrested were Claude Gauthier and Pascal Facchino, identified by authorities as part of the Angels’ Trois-Rivières chapter, alleged to be leaders in the sale of narcotics in the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu region.

Quebec provincial police‘s joint organized crime unit, known as ENCRO, is mandated to specifically target those in charge of organized crime rings. The squad consists of more than 160 police officers from the Sûreté du Québec as well as police departments from Montreal, Quebec City, Laval and Lévis.


Former Bandidos MC member to be deported

Sydney, AU (April 11, 2019) BTN — An Irish ex-bikie who has lived in Australia since he was six years old, but has spent time behind bars, will be deported after his visa was cancelled and his appeal rejected in the Federal Court.

John Paul Pennie, who moved to Australia with his parents in 1980, was sentenced in July 2015 to four-and-a-half years in a WA prison for charges including possessing methylamphetamine with intent to sell or supply and wilful destruction of evidence. In January 2016, a delegate of the Home Affairs Minister cancelled Pennie’s visa, ruling he did not pass the character test due to his criminal record which included being a former vice president of the Bandidos bikies.

After the minister refused to revoke the cancellation, Pennie took his case to the Federal Court but on Thursday his application was rejected. Pennie had claimed he feared a lack of medical care for his health issues in Ireland and that he would be homeless. But Justice Katrina Banks-Smith said the minister had considered possible hardship and had not made an error.

Pennie also argued he did not pose an unacceptable risk to the Australian community, in part because he had severed ties with the Bandidos. After Pennie announced he was leaving the club, he was told he had to stab a fellow inmate and assault another, but he refused, which led to Pennie being attacked in Casuarina prison.

“Different minds might reach different conclusions as to the likelihood of the applicant being exposed to contact with the Bandidos Motorcycle Club upon release into the community and the relevance of such exposure to the risk of harm to the Australian community,” Justice Banks-Smith said. “But that does not mean the minister’s views can be described as illogical or irrational.”

SOURCE: The West Australian

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Police seize assets from Comanchero MC

Auckland, New Zealand (April 11, 2019) BTN — Police have seized $3.7 million in assets in a major operation across Auckland targeting a high-profile motorcycle club. Police said in a statement a year-long investigation into the activities of the Comanchero Motorcycle Club has concluded, as a number of search warrants were earlier executed.

It's understood New Zealand criminals deported from Australia were setting up a chapter here. "More than 80 police staff, including special groups such as the Armed Offenders Squad, dog section and specialist search group have been executing search warrants at seven properties throughout the Auckland region this morning," a statement from police says.

A number of people have been arrested, including "senior members and associates of the Comanchero motorcycle club," the statement says. About $3.7 million in assets have been seized, including two residential properties and several high end vehicles, including a number of Range Rovers, a Rolls Royce and two Harley Davidson motorcycles.

Motorcycle Clubs  use expensive items to "market themselves" national manager of the financial crime group Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman says. "We are determined to strip them of that wealth that we allege has come from criminal offending and take the profit out of it," he says.

A photo posted to the Facebook page "Gangs of New Zealand" in December 2017 showed five men, two of whom were wearing Comanchero paraphernalia, along with the caption:

"Comanchero New Zealand. Making moves here in Aotearoa. Respect." Chris Cahill, president of the Police Association, said at the time it's "no surprise" we may be seeing a rise in Comanchero and affiliated gangsters. "Some of these gangs are very experienced. They have international links and that's adding to the level of concern we have in gangs around New Zealand."

He says one of the major concerns with gang activity moving over from Australia is that as we are a small country, they are likely to quickly clash with other gangs as they compete for turf.

SOURCE: News Hub

Hells Angels MC still fighting for their clubhouse

Nanaimo, BC, Canada (April 10, 2019) BTN — A lawyer for the Hells Angels suggested Tuesday that a civil-forfeiture case against the motorcycle club was motivated by a desire by the RCMP to get “bad guys,” and had nothing to do with concerns about the club’s Nanaimo property.

The comments were made by lawyer Joseph Arvay during the second day of his questioning of Phil Tawtel, the executive director of the provincial civil-forfeiture office. Arvay was asking Tawtel about a referral document in which the RCMP recommended in 2007 that the Hells Angels clubhouse in Nanaimo should be targeted for civil forfeiture.

A lawyer for the director objected to Arvay’s questioning based on the document and the witness was asked to leave the courtroom while the lawyers argued the matter. Arvay told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Barry Davies that he was going to ask the court to draw the inference that from the police perspective at least, the RCMP referral was much more about simply going after the motorcycle club than any real concern about the property.

He accused the director of looking for “whatever hooks” are available in the applicable legislation to go after the property.

Arvay said that although the RCMP referred to a possible beating in the clubhouse and the discovery of some guns inside the premises, the major basis for the referral was that the clubhouse was a “booze can” and operating without a liquor licence. “That was the hook,” he told the judge. “But the fundamental reason for recommending this civil forfeiture is: These are bad guys, you should go after them.”

Brent Olthuis, a lawyer for the director, objected to the questioning on the basis that it was calling for hearsay from a witness on the motivation of the RCMP as the referring agency. “I say you can’t do that. You simply cannot do that,” Olthuis said.

Olthuis also objected to the questioning on the basis that it was not relevant to the issues in the case. But the judge said that in “general terms” he agreed with Arvay and noted that in canvassing the constitutional issues being raised in the case, he needed a “full factual matrix” to make a final decision. “The director has opined that the Hells Angels are a worldwide organization with criminal purposes and that the clubhouses act to facilitate that role,” said the judge.

“To deny the defendants the right to examine the basis upon which these proceedings were commenced, and the interaction between the RCMP and the director, would render the constitutional question something to be decided in a factual vacuum. That will not occur.” The judge said that he agreed it might be difficult to determine the motivation of the RCMP, but added that what was relevant in the case was the actions taken by the director in response to the RCMP referral.

The long-running case saw the civil-forfeiture office launch its lawsuit seeking forfeiture of the Nanaimo clubhouse in 2007. The director alleges the clubhouse is an “instrument of unlawful activity” and that it’s an asset that should be forfeited to the government.

In 2012, the office filed another lawsuit seeking the forfeiture of two more Hells Angels clubhouses — in Vancouver and Kelowna.

The trial is expected to continue Wednesday.

SOURCE: Times Colonist 

Pagan's MC leader sentenced in meth bust

Daytona Beach, Florida, USA (April 10, 2019) BTN — A Port Orange man who was a leader of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Cub was sentenced Tuesday to 11 years in federal prison for his role in a meth distribution conspiracy, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Brian “Sledge” Burt, 47, pleaded guilty on Jan. 16 to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando. Burt was a member of the Pagan’s Mother Chapter, a group of 13 that directed the Pagan’s criminal activities throughout the United States and conspired with different drug trafficking groups to distribute methamphetamine in and around Daytona Beach, officials said in an emailed statement.

Related | Pagan's MC dope supplier found guilty
Related | Two Pagan's MC members plead guilty

Burt was the first biker sentenced. Another Pagan indicted in the case, Michael “Clutch” Andrews, 33, of Palm Coast, has also pleaded guilty. Andrew “Yeti” Shettler, 33, of Palm Coast, was also indicted and identified as a member of the Thunderguards Motorcycle Club, which is affiliated with the Pagan’s, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Shettler has also pleaded guilty.

The FBI, which was later joined by the Drug Enforcement Administration, began an investigation in April 2017 into drug trafficking groups that had supplied motorcycle clubs, including the Pagan’s, in Central Florida, with distribution amounts of methamphetamine, the release said.

So far, 19 individuals in all have been found guilty as a result of this joint investigation. “This case exemplifies the cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to dismantle dangerous criminal organizations that threaten the safety of our communities,” said Rachel L. Rojas, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville Division. “The FBI will continue to target the leadership of these organizations and bring them to justice for the harm caused by their criminal actions.”

SOURCE: The Daytona Beech News-Journal 

Monday, April 8, 2019

Cop suspended for assaulting club member

Quebec, Canada (April 8, 2019) BTN — A Sûreté du Québec officer has been suspended for 60 days without pay for assaulting a member of the Rock Machine Motorcycle Club while the latter was in custody in 2014.

The sanction against Bruno Landry was issued by the Quebec Police Ethics Committee last week and follows Landry’s conviction for assault in connection with the same incident in Quebec Court in 2016. However, the police officer’s guilty plea was followed by an unconditional discharge, meaning Landry would not have a criminal record.

In October 2014, Landry was called in as backup in the arrest of Jean-François Émard, a member of the Rock Machine, on suspicion of possession of drugs. After Émard had been placed in a cell, Landry’s colleague asked him three times to accompany him to question the suspect. Landry finally agreed, and the officers said they were subjected to string of insults and provocations from Émard during the process.

Landry began to leave the cell but the insults continued and, finally, the officer turned around and struck the suspect. The ethics committee heard that after the fight had been broken up, Landry felt tremendous remorse and realized he had made a mistake. He was suspended from duty by the SQ days later.

Landry sought therapy to control his emotions and, during his absence from the force, went to university to study cybersecurity and did volunteer work. When he was returned to duty, Landry worked in administrative roles at the SQ’s highway patrol section.

After his guilty plea in Quebec Court, Landry had to face the SQ’s internal disciplinary committee in 2017. After hearing the facts of the case, including details of the stress that Landry was dealing with in his personal life at the time of the incident, the disciplinary committee decided Landry should be suspended for 85 days rather than dismissed from the force, as called for by the nature of the offence.

Finally, the police ethics committee heard the case and, considering a joint recommendation from the defence and the prosecution, buttressed by Landry’s reiteration of his remorse and avowals of confidence in the officer from his superiors, ruled he should be suspended for 60 days.

SOURCE: Montreal Gazette

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Hells Angels annual ride honors slain member

Vancouver, B.C. (April 6, 2019) BTN — About 80 Hells Angels and associates gathered at the bikers East End clubhouse Saturday morning for their annual ride to pay tribute to fallen comrade Dave (Screwy) Swartz. Specialized police officers, who investigate so called motorcycle clubs, were also on hand to take photographs and videos as the riders arrived.

Police watching and taking photos club members

Vancouver police traffic enforcement officers checked vehicle registrations of several Hells Angels, prompting East End chapter president John Bryce to head out to talk to police. Some of the bikers muttered insults at officers, who were stationed across from the clubhouse, located at 3598 East Georgia St. VPD Sgt. Jason Robillard said police were out in force “to monitor and ensure that the rules of the road are followed.” “Public safety remains our top priority,” Robillard said.

Swartz was a full-patch member of the East End chapter when he was gunned down in Surrey on April 6,1988, by a friend after an all-night drinking party. The friend then killed himself with the same gun. Swartz’s son is now a member of the Vancouver chapter of the notorious biker gang. The Hells Angels were joined Saturday by “support clubs” from around B.C., including the Langford Savages, the Dirty Bikers, the Jesters, the Teamsters’ Horsemen, the Shadow Club and the Devil’s Army out of Campbell River.

Forfeiture case nears end

The East End clubhouse, assessed this year as being worth $1,275,000, is one of three that the B.C. director of civil forfeiture is fighting in court to seize because of alleged links to criminal activity. Just this week, lawyers for the Hells Angels were in B.C. Supreme Court arguing the director’s lawsuit, first launched in November 2007, should be thrown out. The Hells Angels’ latest petition alleges the RCMP violated the constitutional rights of the bikers by passing on information to the B.C. government’s civil forfeiture office. 

And it also says the section of the B.C. Civil Forfeiture Act that allows information sharing with police violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “The director therefore has no lawful authority to collect information from the RCMP. As such he had no authority to initiate proceedings on the basis of such information,” the HA’s petition states. “In the circumstances, the petitioners seek orders quashing the decisions to initiate proceedings and prohibit the director from continuing, commencing or conducting proceedings on the basis of such information.” The director says in his response to the petition that it is merely a delay tactic and that the bikers have known about the sharing of police information since at least 2008.

The Hells Angels “could and should have brought this judicial review at least 11 years ago,” the court document says, adding the bikers have “offered no explanation for its extraordinary delay in seeking this relief.” The director also said it did not receive any “personal information” about the Hells Angels from the police. A lawyer representing the RCMP also argued before Justice Barry Davies Friday that Canada’s national police force had the power to share information with the director of civil forfeiture. Sitting in court was Hells Angels spokesman Rick Ciarniello, who spent part of the morning filing his fingernails.

The trial, which began last April but has been adjourned several times since, is scheduled to last another three weeks. So far, the government side has called a former Hells Angel and a police agent who infiltrated the East End Hells Angels, as well as a series of police officers. Last month, parts of an expert report by retired Ontario Provincial Police Det. Staff Sgt. Len Isnor were ruled inadmissible because Davies said they were full of biased, unsubstantiated claims about the biker club.

SOURCE: Vancouver Sun

Two bikers killed and five injured in Bar fights

Biker Trash Network: April 6-7, 2019 -- A bloody weekend for Bikers as two separate fights break out in two separate States leaving two dead and five injured as riding season gets underway in many areas. The first was in Killeen, Texas and the one ending in Indianapolis, Indiana resulted in two deaths.

Both stories are developing 

Killeen, Texas (April 6, 2019) BTN — Two people are hospitalized after a shooting between two rival motorcycle clubs outside of a Killeen bar Saturday morning, according to a Killeen Police Department press release. One victim remains in serious condition at AdventHealth Central Texas, and another is in serious condition at a Baylor Scott and White hospital, according to the press release.

The Killeen Police Department responded to a call around 1:40 a.m. Saturday about a "large" fight on the road outside of MJ's Bar and Grill at 1310 S. Fort Hood Road. As officials were on their way to the scene, two people were shot during the fight, according to the press release.


Indianapolis, Indiana (April 7, 2019) BTN — Two people are dead and another three are injured after an early morning shooting on Indy’s near northeast side. Police referred to the location as a “motorcycle club hangout.” According to the Indianapolis Metro Police Department, the shooting occurred shortly after 1 a.m. in the 3600 block of Roosevelt Avenue at a brown brick building that has no name, but is a known hangout for motorcycle clubs. Police believe at least two or three different motorcycle clubs were inside the building at the time the shooting occurred.

After police arrived on scene, they discovered one male and two females suffering from apparent gunshot wounds. One of the female victims was pronounced dead at the scene by Indianapolis EMS. The second female was transported to the hospital in serious but stable condition. The male victim was also transported, police said, but was pronounced dead at the hospital. According to police, two more victims that were suffering from gunshot wounds associated with the motorcycle club shooting later arrived at the hospital. One of them was listed as being in critical condition.

The severity of the fifth victim’s injury isn’t known at this time. Detectives with the Indianapolis Metro Police Department continue to investigate the shooting. IMPD stated a physical altercation may have lead up to the shooting, but they are still working to try and determine a motive. At least two IndyGo buses were loaded up with potential witnesses to be questioned by IMPD. The names of the deceased have not been released, as next of kin has not yet been notified.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Grisly allegations open Chittum trial

Edwardsville, Georgia, USA (April 5, 2019) BTN – Murder defendant Brandon Chittum was allegedly standing behind his best friend, Patrick Chase, coaching him on how to strangle Courtney Coats during her murder in 2013, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

“Do it harder; do it quick,” Chittum was allegedly telling Chase, as he was choking his girlfriend to “put her out of her misery,” Assistant State’s Attorney Lauren Heischmidt told the jury in her opening statement. “The defendant was behind Chase, coaching him, giving him tips.”

Brandon Chittum

Chittum, 35, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, a count of dismembering a human body and concealment of a homicidal death. Coats went missing in late November 2013. Chase has since pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Chittum, formerly of Alton and a former member of the Outlaws motorcycle club, has been in the Madison County Jail awaiting trial since December 2013. Testimony at trial was that Chase was a member of the Black Pistons motorcycle club , which was like a “farm club ” for the Outlaws. Chittum said during a recorded interview that the two became friends when they were members of an alcohol recovery group.

Heischmidt said Tuesday that Coats and Chase were in an argument at their home in the 2500 block of College Avenue, and Chase pushed her, causing her to hit and badly injure her head. Chase said he wanted to “put her out of her misery,” so he and Chittum allegedly dragged her into a bedroom, where the first attempt at strangling her failed.

The prosecutor said that Chittum felt for Coats’ pulse and told Chase she was not dead. They then dragged her into a bathroom, where Chase slit her throat. Chittum then allegedly said, “Now she’s gone,” Heischmidt told the jury. “They senselessly, violently and brutally murdered her,” the prosecutor said.

She then described how Chittum allegedly called his wife and asked to borrow her car. She then drove it to Alton and left, and the two suspects then cut up the body, placed it in bags and took the remains up to the Joe Page Bridge near Hardin. The remains were found near, and in, the Illinois River in Greene County.

When Coats’ mother, Elizabeth Kovach, began to notice her daughter was not contacting her, as she always did, she reported her missing. Police launched a 27-day search for Coats, but an investigation led the a confession by Chase, who led authorities to the remains. Crime scene specialists from Illinois State Police then performed a detailed search of the College Avenue apartment where the murder took place.

Investigators found blood in the bathroom. “Scratched into the soap scum in the bathtub was the word, ‘Help,’ Heischmidt said. The prosecutor said Chittum will say he left before the murder and returned to Collinsville, but phone records from Chittum’s phone showed he was in Alton, then in East Hardin, then in Alton.

Defense attorney Evelyn Lewis said her client went to sleep on the couch during the killing. “Brandon did not kill her. He wasn’t even aware of it.” She claimed Chase told police that Coats injured her neck, yet there is no evidence of a neck injury. She said Chittum never called police about the incident because “he was in the Outlaws, and he was afraid what was going to happen to him.”

Testimony in the trial began Tuesday. The trial may last into next week.

SOURCE: The Telegraph

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Waco Biker massacre cases dismissed

Waco, Texas. USA (April 2, 2019) BTN —  Recently elected District Attorney Barry Johnson said in a release that, "following the indictments, the prior District Attorney had the time and opportunity to review and assess the admissible evidence to determine the full range of charges that could be brought against each individual who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl, and to charge only those offenses where the admissible evidence would support a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In my opinion, had this action been taken in a timely manner, it would have, and should have, resulted in numerous convictions and prison sentences against many of those who participated in the Twin Peaks brawl. Over the next three years the prior District Attorney failed to take that action, for reasons that I do not know to this day."

Johnson said that when he assumed office in January, the statue of limitation expired on most of the offenses.

"I believe that any effort to charge and prosecute these individual charges at this time would only result in further waste of time, effort and resources of the McLennan County judicial system and place a further unfair burden on the taxpayers of McLennan County," Johnson said.

Archive | Waco Shooting History

On May 17, 2015, a shootout erupted at the Twin Peaks located in the Waco Central Texas Marketplace. The shootout was between two motorcycle clubs - the Bandidos and the Cossacks.

Nine bikers died in the shootout and dozens were injured. Following the incident, nearly 200 bikers were arrested.

Of those 177, 155 were indicted with various charges.

The first trial was held in September of 2017. The defendent, Jacob Carrizal, was being charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and directing activities of a criminal street gang. His trial lasted one month and ended with a mistrial.

After his trial, the amount of money spent on these cases totaled more than $1 million.

The results of Carrizal's trial started a domino effect. No other biker was tried, and the district attorney at the time, Abel Reyna, began dropping Twin Peaks biker cases. At one point, 60 cases were dismissed at one time by Judge Strother.

The remaining 24 bikers were re-indicted on a riot charge.

"I do not believe that it is a proper exercise of my judgment as District Attorney to proceed with the further prosecution of what I believe to have been an ill-conceived path that this District Attorney’s Office was set upon almost four years ago by the prior District Attorney, and I do not believe that path should continue to be pursued," Johnson said.


Sunday, March 31, 2019

Hells Angels and Pagan's scare local police

Rochelle Park, N.J., (March 31, 2019) BTN — Police from several towns are patting themselves on the back after they defused a potential fight between a group of Hells Angels and Pagan's at the Bergen Harley Davidson store in Rochelle Park -- and cops say they expect more trouble in the future. A Hells Angels member was buying a motorcycle at the Essex Street shop on Saturday when a Pagan reportedly told him "this is Pagan territory," according to Rochelle Park police.

They began to argue, after which several members of each club showed up "to support their member," according to a police report. "The situation was de-escalated by a large police presence," the report said.

Rochelle Park police thanked their colleagues from Lodi, Maywood, Saddle Brook, the Bergen County Sheriff's Office and the Bergen County Regional SWAT team, who all responded.

"Intelligence obtained after the incident indicates tensions between the two motorcycle gangs [are] going to escalate," they added. "You're going to see a lot more incidents between these [two]," one officer said. "They're fighting for territory."

SOURCE: Daily Voice

Friday, March 29, 2019

No Colors Allowed

Albuquerque, N.M., USA (March 29, 2019) BTN — It's a bold sign: "a gang-free zone, wearing of 'colors' not permitted." It's hanging at the front entrance to Mariscos Altamar at Coors and I-40.
"It is shocking to see that," said Raymond Gallegos. The sign references "gangs," but the symbol represents what is referred to as the "one percenters," also known as bikers who give the community a bad name. "They watch one television show and we're almost all criminals," said Gallegos.

Sign posted on the entrance to Mariscos Altamar restaurant 

Raymond Gallegos is with the New Mexico Motorcyclists Rights Organization. He said the sign is meant to kick out bikers like himself wearing his cut. "What I'm wearing would be considered colors, it's an insignia that represents the club that I'm in," he said. The majority of bikers are in 'bike clubs,' not gangs, and are good people raising money for charities and helping those in need. "To say that we're all gang members, that's a very broad spectrum brush," said Gallegos.

He said this isn't the first time. Ojos Locos in Uptown confirms it has a sign inside too. The NMMRO sends out lists to its members, showing which establishments are "no colors welcome," including places like the Santa Ana Casino and the Cottonwood Mall. "I've been asked several times from managers or staff that they don't allow gang colors," he said.

Albuquerque Police Department records confirm that earlier this month officers were called to Mariscos Altamar for an incident involving a "biker gang," but no police report was ever filed. The manager would only say the owner told him to put up the sign on Friday.

"We all stick together and when we see a business that no longer supports us, we will no longer support them," said Gallegos.

Their Facebook page is below.

KRQE News 13 did reach out to both Mariscos Altamar and Ojos Locos. Neither would speak to us on camera or comment on why they put up their signs. Gallegos says signs like this are a civil rights violation under the first amendment, but he says it would cost thousands of dollars to take a case to civil court.