There are two kinds of news stories – dog bites man and man bites dog. Modern journalism is partial to man bites dog but every once in a while it is worth paying attention to an ordinary story, a story that happens over and over because the ordinary stories tend to become invisible.
There was an ordinary, little patch pulling at the corner of Twelfth and Hampshire Streets in Quincy, Illinois on May 20, 2012. It is a dismal street corner bounded by parking lots in a Mississippi River town of 40,000 north of Hannibal and about equidistant from the places you have heard of like Des Moines, Davenport, St. Louis and Kansas City. The big club in little Quincy is the Midwest Percenters Motorcycle Club.
And when a couple of bikers flying Tunnel Rats MC patches (the name is an homage to some guys in a long ago war in a far away place – non gratum anus rodentum) rode into Quincy they were greeted by four Midwest Percenters who chased the oputsiders down and finally caught them at the corner bounded by asphalt. The Percenters names were Zane E. Liggett, Timothy Jackson, Gerald Utterback and Joseph Teel Jr. They were all grown men. Teel was the young one of the four. He was 38. Utterback was 43 and Jackson and Liggett were both 54.
The four demanded that the Tunnel Rats give up their cuts. “This isn’t a fucking game,” Jackson allegedly told the two strangers. “We’ll fucking kill you. Give us your fucking cuts.”
Allegedly Teel, the chapter president, pulled a handgun and told the Tunnel Rats, “Take them off or I’ll blow your fucking heads off.”
The local prosecutor, Adams County State’s Attorney Jon Barnard, would later say “This crime was all about intimidation…(the) Percenters wanted to intimidate the victims. They wanted to instill fear into them. They wanted them to fear for their lives. That was their goal and they did that by pursuit…. This was an ugly armed robbery in the middle of an intersection. All for what? To establish, I suppose, their dominance, their control. They showed contempt for all of us. They might have well have brought a sign with them that read, ‘We rule the streets.’ I would say to the…Percenters, wrong. The law rules the streets.”
Write It Yourself
This is an ordinary story, a banal story, so you can probably write the rest of it yourself.
The two Tunnel Rats let the police handle their business for them. The four desperados were quickly located and put in chains. Everybody seems to have stood tall for awhile.
Teel went to trial first. The two Tunnel Rats testified against him. He lost his case and was sentenced to serve 25 years in the state penitentiary in May 2013. That jolt sent a message. That was when Liggett (photo above) flipped. In return his charge was reduced to an Illinois crime called “Mob Action.” Included in the plea agreement was Liggett’s promise to testify against his former club brothers Utterback and Jackson. He kept his word about that.
Utterback was sentenced to five years in prison on March 25 and Jackson was given six years two days later. Liggett learned his fate two days ago. He was sentenced to 120 days in county jail, 24 months probation and he was ordered to pay a $500 fine.
Be careful out there. Watch your six.