RICHMOND, Va. — A federal jury on Tuesday convicted four current or former members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang, including its national president, of racketeering and other charges.
A member of another biker gang not affiliated with the Outlaws was acquitted of a single count.
Outlaws president Jack Rosga of Milwaukee showed no reaction as the jury’s verdict was read. Along with the racketeering count, Rosga was convicted of conspiracy to commit violence in aid of racketeering.
According to prosecutors, Rosga headed a highly organized criminal enterprise responsible for a string of violent crimes, most of them targeting the rival Hells Angels. Jurors heard testimony during a two-week trial about several incidents, including the shooting of a Hell’s Angels member in Maine and several bar fights in Richmond.
Thomas “Tomcat” Mayne, 58, of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and Michael “Madman” Pedini, 39, of Athens, Maine, allegedly confronted and shot Gary Watson last Oct. 8 while he was sitting in a pickup truck outside a Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Canaan, Maine.
The shooting was retaliation for an altercation in September, when two Outlaws members were assaulted and had their patches taken by Hell’s Angels members at a gas station in New Haven, Conn., the indictment says. The Outlaws members had to go to a hospital for treatment.
“Today’s convictions of the Outlaw motorcycle gang members, including its national president, are a big deal,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride told reporters. He said the goal of the investigation of the Outlaws was “to put them out of business, not simply take one or two people off the streets.”
Rosga’s attorney, Claire Cardwell, said she and her client were disappointed and planned to appeal.
“The reason it’s so disconcerting is Mr. Rosga is a 53-year-old man with no prior criminal record,” she said. “He’s a very decent man, very easy to work with.”
Defense attorneys argued during the trial that the government was trying to make a handful of isolated incidents look like a criminal conspiracy to justify the time and expense of a two-year investigation in which federal agents infiltrated the Outlaws and even established a clubhouse in Petersburg, Va.
MacBride said the convictions show that the jury didn’t buy that argument.
“This is the sort of investigation that takes a lot of time and resources,” he said. “We think it was well worth it. …It’s our hope the public will be safer — not just in Virginia, but in other states.”
Also convicted of racketeering were Mark Jason Fiel and Christopher Timbers of the Outlaws’ Manassas, Va., chapter and Harry McCall of the Lexington, N.C., chapter. McCall was convicted on three other charges, while Timbers was found guilty of two additional counts and not guilty of one.
The four will be sentenced April 8. Rosga faces a maximum of 23 years in prison, although federal sentencing guidelines will call for less.
Dennis Haldermann, a member of a Richmond-area motorcycle club who was accused of aiding the Outlaws in one of the bar fights, was acquitted on a charge of violence in the aid of racketeering.
It was the second trial for Rosga, whose first trial last month ended in a deadlocked jury. Two co-defendants were acquitted and a third was convicted at that trial.
The defendants are among 27 biker gang members indicted in June. More than half have entered guilty pleas.
One of the men charged was killed in a gunbattle with federal agents trying to arrest him in Maine.
“Tomcat” Mayne was killed in June when ATF agents attempting to serve arrest warrants exchanged fire with people inside Mayne’s Old Orchard Beach home, fatally wounding him.