Hells Angel pleads guilty in wedding chapel brawl

A member of the infamous Hells Angel’s motorcycle club on Wednesday pleaded guilty to stabbing and beating rival gang members at a downtown wedding chapel in 2008.

Jeffrey Murray said he was guilty of battery with substantial bodily harm with the intent to promote, further or assist the activities of a criminal gang and coercion with force, both felonies.

As part of a deal, prosecutors agreed to drop 11 other charges against Murray.

The plea bargain was significant for two reasons.

Murray was one of three defendants accused of stabbing Mongols during the brawl at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel on Dec. 20, 2008.

It is also the first case in Nevada where a Hells Angel agreed to a plea deal that included a “gang enhancement.” The gang enhancement will add years to Murray’s prison sentence. Murray was a member of the Hells Angel’s at the time of the brawl, but his current status with the club was unclear Wednesday.

In all, 13 men were charged with bludgeoning three Mongols in the wedding chapel melee.

Eight, including Murray, were to stand trial for the second time on Aug. 5. The first case ended in a mistrial when a judge said prosecutors failed to tell defense lawyers that a detective in the case testified in a child custody hearing for one of the victims.

He will be sentenced by District Judge Ken Cory at an Oct. 17 hearing.

He faces 2 to 16 years in prison. Murray remained free on $100,000 bond.

His lawyer, Frank Cremen, did not immediately return a call requesting comment late Wednesday.

Chief deputy district attorneys Sonja Jimenez and Marc DiGiacomo are prosecuting the case.

The seven defendants awaiting trial next month are Dominic Orlando, Frederick O’Dell, Brandon Young, James Sexey, John Dawson, John Merchant and Armando Porras. They face about a dozen felony and misdemeanor counts, including attempted murder, battery and conspiracy.

Authorities allege Sexey and Merchant also stabbed victims during the brawl.

The five remaining defendants in the case will face similar charges in two separate trials.

Surveillance footage of the brawl shows Hells Angels and others swarming rival gang members at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel on Fourth Street and Gass Avenue. Six were injured, including three members of the Mongols.

Hells Angels were attending a wedding ceremony. As they were leaving, at least three Mongols were at the chapel for another wedding. The 13 men attacked the Mongols, bludgeoning them with their fists, feet, bottles and trash cans.

Prosecutors called it an unprovoked attack.

The defense lawyers said their clients were acting in self-defense because Mongols had months earlier attacked and killed a Hells Angel in San Francisco.

Contact reporter Francis McCabe at fmccabe@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039.