Hells Angels And Vagos Casino Shootout Trial Gets UnderwayJuly 22, 2013 11:37 am
Two years after a gun battle between rival motorcycle gangs left a Hells Angels leader dead at a Nevada casino, a Vagos gang leader has now gone on trial accused of his murder.
The incident took place on September 23, 2011 at the John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Reno, when the president of the Hells Angels’ San Jose chapter, Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, was provoked into a fight by a Vagos member before the president of the Vagos chapter in Nicaragua, Ernesto Gonzalez, allegedly shot and then murdered him.
Under tight security the trial is due to get underway later today, with Ernesto Gonzalez already having pleaded not guilty to numerous charges including second-degree murder, open murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The prosecutors, however, are arguing that the incident was part of an organized assassination plot by the Vagos chapter.
Also on trial is rival Hells Angel member Cesar Villagrana, who is accused of having shot a Vagos member in the leg during the gun battle, although his lawyer is arguing he was only defending himself and Pettigrewit when the shoot-out occured.
Adding to the court room drama is the fact Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer has banned the wearing of “club” insignia in his courtroom and ruled against the defense lawyers referring to the their client’s as being club members, explaining:
“From now on, no gangs, no clubs. Use proper names. Refer to the Hells Angels as the Hells Angels and the Vagos as the Vagos.”
Meanwhile, the gang member blamed for starting the fight, former head of the Vagos Los Angeles chapter Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick, has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder back in March, and is due to be sentenced on August 22nd. Vagos members Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick and Ernesto Gonzalez, along with Hells Angel member Cesar Villagrana were indicted back in November 2011 based on the testimony of an informant who apparently was a high-ranking Vagos member for more than twenty years.