Washoe County, Nevada District Attorney Christopher J, Hicks, above, doesn’t want Vago Ernesto Manuel “Romeo” Gonzalez retried.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruled last New Year’s Eve that Gonzalez deserved a new trial. The Court ruled that, among other errors, the jury that found Gonzalez guilty should have been warned that testimony against Gonzalez by former Vago Stuart Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick was uncorroborated and suspect.
Gonzalez was convicted of deliberately murdering San Jose Hells Angels charter president Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew during a brawl between Hells Angels and Vagos inside John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada on September 23, 2011. Rudnick instigated the fight, possibly in hopes of collecting a Hells Angels vest as a souvenir. He baited Pettigrew for almost an hour before Pettigrew assaulted him. During that hour, several Vagos urged Rudnick to stop.
After he was kicked out of the Vagos, Rudnick agreed to testify against Gonzalez in return for a more lenient sentence. Rudnick told jurors that Gonzalez had been told to assassinate Pettigrew by Vagos president Pastor “Tata” Palafox, that the alleged assassination resulted from a club wide conspiracy and that the Vagos is a “criminal street gang.”
Hicks filed a mendacious and desperate Petition For Rehearing with the Nevada high court on Tuesday afternoon that claims surveillance video of the fight corroborates Rudnick’s testimony. Among the howlers in the petition is the statement: “The video shows one of the Vagos putting on gloves inside the casino on that summer night, just seconds before the fight began. A jury could consider that as evidence that at least one of the Vagos anticipated the fight that followed seconds later, and that is circumstantial evidence of the conspiracy.” Hicks fails to mention that the Vago putting on gloves was his star witness, Gary Rudnick.
Hicks argues that other video evidence corroborates a conspiracy to murder Pettigrew. That video footage includes:
“The contents of the video would allow the jury to conclude that when the Vagos lined up in the casino, to form a gauntlet, they were doing so because of an agreement and not just by random movements. The State would refer to the relatively modern phenomena of the ‘flash mob.’ A person reviewing a video of such a flash mob can quickly and firmly conclude that the participants have agreed to their actions. A video of such a flash mob, like the video of the gauntlet, allows the conclusion that the participants are acting pursuant to an agreement, and are not just milling about aimlessly.”
“The video also showed that when Pettigrew (a Hells Angels member) showed up at the Oyster Bar in the Casino, his arrival was quickly followed by a dozen or more of Vagos showing up at the same locale. That tends to show coordinated activity.”
“The rapidity with which the fight began and escalated is also evidence that the participants mentally rehearsed the beginnings of the fight. That, too, tends to corroborate the existence of the agreement.”
“Finally, the video shows that just before the fight started, the shooter, Gonzalez, freed up his hands by putting down his drink. He thus was able to retrieve his gun from under his shirt to kill Pettigrew.”
Justice Nancy Saitta wrote the 16-page decision that ordered a new trial for Gonzalez. All six of the court’s other justices concurred with Saitta’s opinion. It seems very unlikely that four of those seven justices would now reverse themselves based on Hick’s speculative and dissembling blather.