It was a red and white wedding that ended mostly red.
Nearly five years later, the first of 10 sentences was handed down in the bloody downtown wedding chapel brawl where 13 men, including members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, were charged with assaulting rival gang members.
Former Hells Angel Jeffrey Murray was sentenced Thursday to two to 10 years in prison for stabbing at least one of the victims. He also was ordered to pay $8,875 in restitution.
Murray said he regretted joining the club. “I was only a motorcycle enthusiast. I’m not a criminal.”
But Judge Ken Cory equated outlaw motorcycle clubs to terrorist organizations that won’t be tolerated by the public.
“We don’t want to clean up your mess,” Cory told the 51-year-old.
Surveillance footage of the brawl showed Murray and 12 others swarming Mongols who were attending a wedding at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel on Fourth Street and Gass Avenue on Dec. 20, 2008.
In all, 13 men were charged with bludgeoning three Mongols and three others during the melee.
As the Hells Angels were leaving a wedding ceremony of their own, they saw three Mongols at the chapel for another wedding.
The 13 men attacked the Mongols, bludgeoning them with their fists, feet, bottles and trash cans.
Prosecutor Sonia Jimenez called it an unprovoked attack. She described how one of the stab wounds Murray inflicted was so deep that it couldn’t be closed by staples and needed to be cleaned daily.
Jimenez said the Hells Angels violated a code among outlaw motorcycle gangs that disallowed fighting in front of family and children.
Jimenez gave Murray credit for quitting the motorcycle club and being the first to plead guilty in the case. In July, he pleaded guilty to substantial bodily harm with the intent to promote, further or assist the activities of a criminal gang and coercion, both felonies.
Murray said he feared for his life when he saw the Mongols. They were wearing their colors and “snickered” at him.
Jimenez said the Hells Angels wedding party wore red and white, the traditional colors of the club. And the Hells Angels and prospective members wore their “cuts,” or Hells Angels vests, she said.
Still, Murray believed the Mongols had a standing order to shoot Hells Angels on sight.
Months earlier, Mongols had attacked and killed a Hells Angel in San Francisco.
A federal raid had shown the Mongols were keeping records on the local Hells Angel chapter, Murray and his lawyer said.
In the end, Murray said he wanted to take responsibility for what he had done.
After the hearing, he was returned to custody.
All but three of the defendants have taken plea deals and are awaiting sentencing.
Joseph Gennuso is set to stand trial in January.
He is free on bail with James Sexey and John Merchant, who with Murray, were accused of stabbing victims during the brawl.
Contact reporter Francis McCabe at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-1039.