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July 28, 2014

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6 more Hells Angels to take plea deals in Las Vegas

Updated Friday, July 19, 2013 | 3:52 p.m.

Lawyers told a judge Friday that six accused Hells Angels will plead guilty to felony charges stemming from a 2008 brawl with rival Mongols motorcycle gang members that injured six people at a downtown Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The agreements outlined before Clark County District Court Judge Kenneth Cory would bring to seven the number of men taking plea deals to avoid a retrial on charges including attempted murder, battery, assault, conspiracy and taking part in activities of a criminal gang.

One accused Hells Angels member, John Merchant, would be left to stand trial Aug. 5.

Merchant is one of three men accused of stabbing two Mongols members during the December 2008 fracas that broke out when Hells Angels celebrating one marriage at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel encountered several Mongols arriving for another ceremony.

No one was arrested immediately afterward. Police spent more than a year developing the case before 13 men were indicted in July 2010.

Prosecutors say videotape shows an unprovoked attack, but defense lawyers say their clients acted in self-defense.

They point to the slaying three months earlier of the Hells Angels' San Francisco chapter president outside a Bay Area bar. A Mongols member was convicted in California and is now serving life without parole in federal prison in that case.

Trial for eight defendants in the Las Vegas case ended in a mistrial last August when a judge ruled that prosecutors failed to fully turn over to defense attorneys evidence including photographs and documents.

With retrial approaching, one co-defendant, Jeffrey Murray, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felonies: coercion with force and battery with substantial bodily harm with the intent to promote, further or assist the activities of a criminal gang.

Co-defendant James Sexey's attorney, Dean Kajioka, told the judge Friday that Sexey will plead guilty to the same two felonies as Murray. The two men could face two to 16 years at sentencing.

Lawyers told the judge that co-defendants John Dawson, Dominic Orlando, Frederick O'Dell and Brandon Young will plead guilty July 26 and Armando Porras will plead guilty Aug. 2 to battery causing substantial bodily harm, a felony carrying a possible sentence of one to five years in prison.

Porras is a motorcycle mechanic and isn't a member of the Hells Angels, his lawyer, Chris Rasmussen, said Friday.

Rasmussen said Porras wanted to put the case behind him.

Trials are pending for five other defendants: Charles Goldsmith, Brad Goldsmith, Joseph Gennuso, Joshua Ramos and Samuel Murray.