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October 25, 2014

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Two more to be arrested in outlaw motorcycle gang stabbings

Judge to set trial date Friday morning for dozen facing attempted murder charges

Motorcycle Gang Arrests

Thomas Powers Launch slideshow »

Two more men are expected to be arrested in connection with last year's melee at a Las Vegas sports bar that involved members of three motorcycle gangs and resulted in two men being stabbed, kicked and beaten for wearing a rival motorcycle gang's colors.

Attorneys for Richard Allen and Ronald W. Rutan told Clark County District Judge Valerie Vega on Tuesday that their clients are expected to surrender to authorities.

A grand jury indicted Allen, Rutan and 10 others on May 4 in connection with the incident, which occurred about 12:30 a.m. June 7, 2009, in the parking lot outside Mr. D's Sportsbar & Grill, 1810 S. Rainbow Blvd. Bench warrants have been issued for Allen and Rutan and each will have $300,000 bail.

According to court documents, the incident broke out when two members of the Flaming Knights rode up to the bar wearing the colors red and gold, which were colors claimed by the Bandidos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang and their associate club, the Down and Dirty Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.

The two victims were confronted about the colors and members of the other two clubs began stabbing at them with various knives and a box cutter, as well as hitting them with Mag-lite flashlites and kicking them, in an attempt to remove the colors, according to court documents.

When police sirens were heard, all of the men began fleeing. The victims went to a gas station, where they called an ambulance for one man's stab wounds, according to court documents.

One victim was transported by ambulance to UMC's trauma unit, where he had emergency surgery for multiple torso stab wounds, according to court documents. The other was treated at Nellis Air Force base for a broken ankle and a cut lower lip, court documents.

All 12 suspects have been charged with two counts each of attempted murder with a deadly weapon, robbery with a deadly weapon and battery with a deadly weapon with substantial bodily harm, as well as one charge each of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit robbery.

All of the charges include criminal gang enhancements.

Those arrested from the Bandidos were Thomas Ed Powers, known as “Wizard,” 56, of Henderson; Stuart William Cantara, known as “Stu,” 48, of Henderson; John Michael Stewart, known as “Thug,” 42, of Henderson; Matthew James Bonelli, known as “Breaker,” 26, of Las Vegas; Aaron Anthony Freeman, known as “Bumper,” 29, of Las Vegas; Thomas Ross Manderfeld, known as “Tomcat,” 53, of Henderson; and Larry Steven Johnson, known as “Revolver,” 49, of Henderson.

The arrested suspects from the Down and Dirty club were Timothy John Koich, known as “Hawk,” 42, of Henderson; Eric Gerard Childers, known as “Red,” 30, of Las Vegas; and James Preston Healey, known as “Rocky,” 34, of Las Vegas.

The case against the men has been consolidated. Vega had been scheduled today to set a date for their trial. However, the judge continued the trial setting until 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Vega did, however, reduce bail to $200,000 for one of the defendants, Stuart Cantera, who pleaded not guilty to the eight felony counts.

Cantera's attorney, John Spilotro, told the judge he disagreed with the way the district attorney's office was characterizing his client's motorcycle club, the Bandidos.

"They make it sound like this is a motorcycle gang that's basically a rolling crime spree," Spilotro said. "And they make that general allegation with no specifics."

"They're at this Mr. D's bar when these alleged victims decide to show up. And my understanding is they were heavily armed, with firearms and body armor, obviously with bad intentions, your honor," Spilotro told the judge.

Spilotro said his client and others in the club did not seek out the victims.

"In any event, an argument ensued," Spilotro said. Spilotro said that Cantera had been at the bar for a short period, then left. "He returned and upon his return, what ever melee had already taken place."

He said his client didn't have a weapon and the facts were not the way the state made them out to be.

"It's not like they were a bunch of marauding gentlemen out seeking havoc," Spilotro said. "It's quite the opposite. Trouble found them."

He also argued that Cantera has been a 13-year resident of Las Vegas and owns a home in the city and did not pose a flight risk. The attorney said that the police investigation into the stabbings has taken a year and that arrest warrants were issued for the men on May 4, but they were not picked up by authorities for a month.

During that month,"my client is riding in the Helldorado parade next to Metro Police officers — and the mayor," Spilotro said. "It kind of cuts against the argument of being a danger."

Vega has also reduced bail to $200,000 for two other defendants, Larry Johnson and Thomas Manderfield, who are each out on bail

After the hearing, Sonia Jimenez, chief deputy district attorney, said on Friday morning Vega will set a trial date and might hear additional motions for bail reduction from the defense.

Jimenez said it was too early to tell how long the trial might last, but it could "take a few good weeks."

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