November 21, 2008 - 12:01 pm
A handful of Hells Angels trickled into federal court today to watch the last remaining participant in the 2002 Laughlin River Run melee plead guilty to committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering.
Frederick Donahue, 34, admitted that he fired a weapon when his motorcycle gang clashed with the rival Mongols inside a Harrah’s hotel-casino.
“I was in the casino that night and I shot somebody,” said Donahue, who vanished after an indictment charging 42 Hells Angels was handed down.
Donahue turned himself in to authorities in July and recently entered into a plea deal that says he will spend no longer than five years in prison.
U.S. District Judge James Mahan dismissed charges against 36 Hells Angels last summer after learning the government did not turn over all of its evidence to the defense team.
Six members of the motorcycle club received prison terms.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Johnson said Donahue played a key role in the shooting that unfolded during the early hours of April 27, 2002, when he sneaked a gun into the casino under his bandana.
Security video clips presented at the Hells Angels’ 2006 trial showed gamblers and employees scattering as the two rival gangs attacked each other with wrenches, knives and guns.
Donahue said he shot Mongol Alexander Alcantar, who was later charged with murder. Two Hells Angels were killed in the clash, Robert Emmet Tumelty, 50, and Jeramie Dean Bell, 27.
Donahue told Mahan on Friday that he shot at the Mongols to maintain his position with the enterprise, a comment that made the six fellow club members in the audience squirm and shake their heads.
Throughout their trial, the Hells Angels denied being a criminal enterprise. Had a jury determined they were an enterprise, the bikers could have received enhanced sentences. Like Donahue’s, their plea deals were carefully worded to say that they acted as an enterprise made up of individuals, not members of the Hells Angels.
Mahan ordered references to the Hells Angels to be removed from the pre-sentencing report.
Contact reporter Adrienne Packer at email@example.com or 702-384-8710.