Hell's Angels among 13 indicted in 2008 brawl

Thirteen men, including 11 members of the infamous Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club, were indicted by a Clark County grand jury in connection with a brawl with rival gang members at a downtown wedding chapel in December 2008.

Authorities say there were at least six victims during the melee, including three members of the Mongols biker gang, two of whom were stabbed, at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel on Fourth Street and Gass Avenue.

The brawl followed a wedding ceremony that the Hell's Angels were attending. When they left the ceremony they saw three Mongols who were at the chapel for a wedding of their own, according to authorities.

The 13 men attacked the Mongols, bludgeoning the victims with their fists, feet, bottles and trash cans, according to authorities and the indictment, which was returned Friday.

One of the victims, a woman, was chased from the chapel by a Hell's Angel, who threw a bottle at her, according to the indictment.

Prosecutor William Kephart said two defendants, Jeffrey Murray and John Merchant, allegedly stabbed two Mongols.

But all 13 defendants have been charged with the same felonies: four counts of battery, three counts of battery with use of a deadly weapon, two counts of attempted murder with use of a deadly weapon, and one count each of assault with a deadly weapon, coercion with force and coercion with a deadly weapon.

Many of the charges allege they were committed with substantial bodily harm and with intent to promote gang activity, which could lead to lengthier sentences if the men are convicted.

The defendants have also been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit assault, battery or provoking commission of breach of the peace, a gross misdemeanor.

Twelve of the defendants showed up at District Court with several defense attorneys to hear the grand jury return and negotiate bail. At least 12 court marshals crowded the courtroom for security.

Judge Michael Villani ordered bail set at $100,000 for each of the defendants. A representative from California-based Mother Lode Bail Bonds appeared in court with the defendants and the 12 men were expected to be bailed out Friday.

A warrant for the 13th defendant, Samuel Murray, was expected to be issued.

Two of the men charged, Joseph Gennuso and Joshua Ramos, are not members of the Hell's Angels, their attorneys said at the court appearance.

The indictment named the remaining defendants as Charles Goldsmith, Brad Goldsmith, Dominic Orlando, Frederick O'Dell, Brandon Young, James Sexey, John Dawson, and Armando Porras.

Afterward, defense attorney David Chesnoff said, the men "are all looking forward to their day in court. Defending yourself is an American right. And we look forward to a jury hearing this case."

Defense attorney Ross Goodman, who is representing Jeffrey Murray, said, "The facts will establish that he and his friends acted in self-defense."

Initially, no one was charged after the Dec. 20, 2008 incident. Las Vegas police spent two years developing the case and gathering evidence, including video footage of the incident.

In November 2009, police served search warrants at six valley locations in connection to several ongoing investigations into the Hell's Angels, including the chapel stabbing.

This is not the first time the ongoing feud between the Hell's Angels and Mongols has erupted in violence in Nevada.

A gunbattle between the two gangs at the 2002 Laughlin River Run resulted in the deaths of two Hell's Angels and one Mongol. Several members of both gangs were sent to prison on charges stemming from that altercation.

Police have said there are about 20 members of the Hell's Angels from two chapters in Southern Nevada.

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