Las Vegas Sun

July 23, 2014

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Courts:

Hells Angels members allegedly involved in brawl will stand trial a second time

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a trial can go forward for two members of a motorcycle gang involved in a brawl that injured six at a downtown Las Vegas wedding chapel in December 2008.

The court rejected arguments that the trial would be double jeopardy for James Sexey and John Merchant, whose first trial ended in a mistrial because of errors by the prosecution.

Defense attorneys said errors in discovery by the prosecution caused District Judge Michael Villani to declare a mistrial at the first trial. First, they said, the District Attorney's Office waited until two weeks into the first trial to introduce evidence of interview cards, photographs and lists of Hells Angels members in chapters around the United States. The second error came when the state failed to disclose information that the lead detective in the case had conferred a benefit upon the state's lead witness, James Nalder, by testifying on his behalf at a family court hearing.

The court upheld the decision of District Judge Kenneth Corey, who ruled that the motion by the defendants for a mistrial removed any double jeopardy protection.

Sexey and Merchant were among eight Hells Angels who launched the Supreme Court appeal on the double jeopardy claim. Since the appeal, others have pleaded to lesser charges or are expected to plead guilty to charges associated with a fight between Hells Angels and the rival Mongols motorcycle gang.

Sexey and Merchant are charged with stabbing two Mongols members at A Special Memory Wedding Chapel. Eleven individuals were arrested and six persons were injured in the melee.

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