A judge in Staten Island ruled yesterday that membership in a motorcycle club was irrelevant to the case of a biker accused of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter after a deadly, June 29, 2014 fight.
State Supreme Court Justice Stephen J. Rooney dismissed the charges against Steven Bonfiglio for the homicide of Stephen McMahon. The charges will be refiled and Bonfiglio is due back in court on April 28.
On the Sunday night of his death, McMahon got into a loud argument with his girlfriend, Kirsten Morgan, at the Boulevard Tavern on Staten Island. After McMahon was thrown out of the bar she was joined by her ex-boyfriend, Michael Raimo. Raimo is the father of Morgan’s 16-year-old son. He is also a member of the Bridgerunners Motorcycle Club. Raimo and Morgan were then joined by two other Bridgerunners. One of them was Bonfiglio.
Bonfiglio started home by himself while Morgan and Raimo remained at the bar but before he got home Raimo called him and asked him to drive Morgan home. So he did and when Bonfiglio and Morgan arrived McMahon was waiting for them. He had been waiting for them for forty minutes. McMahon stuck an automatic pistol in Bonfiglio’s chest and pulled the trigger. It misfired.
Ball Peen Hammer
Bonfiglio produced a ball peen hammer, which he told police, he carried because he sometimes needed it to start his motorcycle. When he struck McMahon with it McMahon dropped the gun. The two men struggled. McMahon took the hammer away from Bonfiglio and started to beat him to the ground with it. Bonfiglio snatched the pistol from the ground, cleared it, pointed it up at McMahon and fired. McMahon died the next day. The entire fight was caught on surveillance video. Police found an unfired bullet and a spent cartridge on the ground near McMahon.
Bonfiglio threw the gun away but after his arrest he told New York City police where they could find it.
Motorcycle Gang Expert
Bonfiglio was indicted by a grand jury. The grand jury based its indictment, in significant part, on testimony offered by an unnamed “motorcycle gang expert,” The logic appeared to be, “It had to be murder because Bonfiglio belonged to a motorcycle club.”
Judge Rooney thought the “expert’s” testimony poisoned the indictment. “There is nothing, in terms of gang affiliation, to show intent, motive, or to rebut justification,” Rooney ruled. “The expert testimony was gratuitous and had no probative value.”
After yesterday’s dismissal, Staten Island (Richmond County) District Attorney Michael E. McMahon issued a statement that read, “We respect the court’s decision and will now move forward to re-present this case to a Richmond County Grand Jury for its determination.”