Barger’s Testimony

May 7, 2018

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Barger's Testimony

The highlight of the trial of Bandidos Jeff Pike and John Portillo so far has been the video streamed testimony of Hells Angels Motorcycle Club éminence grise Ralph Hubert “Sonny” Barger.

For all practical purposes, Barger created the Hells Angels. For all practical purposes he created the ethics of motorcycle outlawry. He has been praised and romanticized by writers as diverse as Hunter Thompson, Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe, Allen Ginsberg, Stephen Gaghan and Kurt Sutter and he is often described as “an American legend.”

More than a half-century ago Thompson wrote: “In any gathering of Hells Angels, from five to a possible hundred and fifty, there is no doubt who is running the show: Ralph ‘Sonny’ Barger, the Maximum Leader, a six-foot, 170-pound warehouseman from East Oakland, the coolest head in the lot, and a tough, quick-thinking dealer when any action starts. By turns he is a fanatic, a philosopher, a brawler, a shrewd compromiser and a final arbitrator. To the Oakland Angels he is Ralph. Everybody else calls him Sonny….”

A decade ago, former ATF undercover agent Jay Dobyns, in a book intended to glorify himself and discredit motorcycle clubs, wrote about Barger the way Tom Mix might have written about Wyatt Earp. “This was the first time I’d laid eyes on the man. He was around sixty-five, but looked to have the health of a vibrant man in his mid-fifties, a remarkable achievement considering the paces he’s put his body through over the decades…. For those who don’t know, this was the man – the legend, really – who molded the Hells Angels into what they are. It’s not a stretch to say that Sonny Barger is a visionary who essentially created the image of the outlaw biker as we know it.”


What mattered about Barger’s testimony wasn’t just who he is but what his words meant. The jurors who will decide Pike and Portillo’s fates can either believe a geekish, thirty-something, career prosecutor named Eric Fuchs and the squad of contemnible snitches he has recruited to try to ruin the second largest motorcycle club in North America, or they can believe Sonny Barger.

Probably the most serious accusation against the two, former top Bandidos is that they ordered a meticulously planned, military style, assassination of an Austin drug dealer named Anthony Benesh. They did not merely have Benesh murdered, Fuchs insists. They used a sniper to blow his head apart like a pumpkin in front of his family outside a pizzeria.

The government line goes: “Court records allege that Benesh was attempting to start a Texas Chapter of the Hell’s Angels…in Austin, Texas in 2006. Members of the Bandidos…warned Benesh to cease his activities and recruitment, which Benesh ignored. Johnny Romo, Robert Romo and others then murdered Benesh on March 18, 2006, outside an Austin restaurant to protect the power, reputation and territory of the Bandidos enterprise.”

Somebody Is Lying

It is an absurd accusation. For one thing, you don’t get to start your own charter of the Hells Angels just by deciding you would like to do that. That would be the Iron Order. Everybody but Eric Fuchs seems to understand that before you get to join a motorcycle club, let alone become a club officer, the members of the club have to get to know you.

Barger bluntly testified that Benesh “was not a Hells Angel” and that the patch he wore was a fake.

Barger had no reason to lie. Fuchs has obviously taken great pains and enlisted numerous co-conspirators to contrive a stupid and extravagant lie. Benesh wasn’t an Angel. He wasn’t starting a charter in Texas. There was no reason why any other Hells Angel should trust him or want Anthony Benesh to do that. The Bandidos had no motive for murdering Benesh. Many of Benesh’s competitors in the lucrative Texas drug business did. Motorcycle outlaws are too savvy about their public images to execute men in front of their families. Drug cartels do that. Motorcycle clubs don’t use snipers. The FBI does.

Sonny Barger had nothing to gain by lying about Anthony Benesh. So it is reasonable to wonder, if the government is lying about the Benesh murder, if Fuchs has gone so far as to recruit men who will lie to help him win his case, when did the government’s lies start and where do they stop?

Sometime this month the world will see who the jury believes – the eager prosecutor or the American legend.

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79 Responses to “Barger’s Testimony”

  1. Rook Says:

    Sonnys a good friend fuck everybody else .
    As the song says “Ride on Sonny ”

    Rook 1%er

  2. James W Crawford Says:


    I really jumped the shark measuring the distance from the new location and then commenting on the implausibility​.

    Thanks for more information on the weapon and circumstances. I am amazed that someone would confess to a murder committed with a weapon that could not be traced to him.

    As you point out, the range could have been as close as 30 yards. That is easy shotgun range.

  3. Rook Says:

    My money’s on the legend !
    L&R Sonny.

  4. Paladin Says:

    @ James W Crawford;

    If you look at my revised Google Earth Map link, showing the old address of Saccone’s Pizza, you’ll notice that the parking lot faces Research Blvd. and the overpass that borders it. A shot fired from that location would be in the neighborhood of 30 yards. Pecan Park Blvd. runs perpendicular to Research Blvd. A shot fired from near the intersection of Pecan Park Blvd. and Research Blvd. would be no greater than 75 yards.

    Romo stating that he borrowed a scoped hunting rifle from a friend is more indicative of a casual shooter than that of a trained or practiced shooter. The topography surrounding the location of Benesh’s murder doesn’t support anything greater than a short range engagement.

    As previously stated, I don’t believe the Bandidos were involved in Benesh’s murder. However, I do believe that because the Romo’s were members of the Bandidos at the time they murdered Benesh, The feds.are doing their level best to tie the club to the murder as well.

    Long May You Ride,


  5. James W Crawford Says:

    2010 homicide data

    Anyone question the point that homicides by sniper are extremely rare?

    Gang related homicides with rifles are also rare.

  6. James W Crawford Says:

    2009 murder data.

    A grand total of 1 killing by sniper

  7. James W Crawford Says:

    Obama corrupted the FBZI crime reporting program so that detailed information is not collated and published.

    In 2008 there were only three “sniper attacks” of which one was committed with a rifle snd 3 with hsndguns.

  8. James W Crawford Says:

    Re Paladin,

    My bad. I just googled the pizza joint and googlemaps took me to the new location.

    I guess their cistomers did not feel comfortable eating in a shooting gallery?

    Was there are credible information about the rifle employed?

    Just FYI, the FBI crime stats reveal that while rifle homicides (excluding by poluce) total only a few hundred per year, deaths from “sniper attacks” are only a few dozen per year and most of the weapons used in “sniper attacks” are handguns or shotguns!

  9. James W Crawford Says:

    Re Phequehead,

    Exactly my point. A really good AR-15 in the hands of a skilled shooter can make a 300 yard shot. The long range ballistics of the M-1 carbine suck and these rifles that were mass produced by the Singer Sewing Machine co and US Postal Meter Co (irony) are not renown for accuracy.

  10. Phuquehed Says:

    I’ve shot critters with my AR at 300 yards easy, one shot. Haven’t tried it with the M1 carbine, though at 75 yards I can nail a guinea hen that I could barely see with one shot (they blend in extremely well to the background of damn near anything but pure green grass, heh).

  11. david Says:

    @ growlingfhardt, with respect,

    The original Zetas WERE “military” AND, trained in the U.S.

  12. Paladin Says:

    @ David & growlingfhardt;

    Good stories.


  13. david Says:

    Whomever killed Benesh, did so under the watchful eye and supervision of a corporate intell. agency.

    Serial murderer Scott Lee Kimball from Boulder,CO was an released FBI informant, and UNDER FBI surveillance, while he was killing women. Then he writes a LONG letter stating he acted alone.

  14. Curbside Says:

    @Paladin, no worries re: the mixup on the address. Truth is, I honestly have no idea how it was done, why it was done, who dunnit, etc.

    I just have a pretty good hunch about how it *WASN’T* done. Basically, anything theorized by the cops or the newspapers is generally bullshit.

    But then again, you (and most of the people reading this) already knew that. I just find the whole thing very interesting. I spent a good deal of time in my younger days studying the scientific aspects of shooting, in order to make me a better hunter when deer season came around, and always found the science of ballistics to be a very interesting subject.

    Thank you kindly for your other insight on the matter. Between Rebel’s reporting and your addition to the comments section, it’s always a joy to come here and find a new post.

    Much respect,

  15. Neuro Says:

    I agree with you halfway Paladin. It is obvious the Romos did it. Everyone is ignoring that they confessed. Johnny Romo was the first to tell and persuaded his brother Robert, the purported shooter to also confess. Johnny got caught dealing and agreed to wear a wire. Four guys confessed. Your answer about the elephant is Justin Forster. Dead dogs were just lying in the ground until Justin was busted dealing in 2016. He was the one who started singing and others began to fall in line to save their skin. Aren’t the Romo’s in the same federal court system as Jeffe Pike and Big John ? They could have all four faced the death penalty so they copped pleas. Just as the Peaks falls on the Sacks, most of this federal prosecution falls on Justin.

  16. James W Crawford Says:

    Well crap, i made the same mistake as Palidin by measuring the distance from the new address rather than the old address. A 300 yardhead shot is very doable for someone who has a really good rifle such as a Remington 700. A really, really good quality AR-15 such as a Colt Delta HBAR could do it. Most on the AR-15S on the market today could not.

    Having a rifle that can make the shot does not mean that the shooter can make the shot. The Vancouver Washington SWAT had a shameful incident where they fired several rounds from only 113 yards away and achieved only one marginal hit to their target’s ass. The most embaressing aspect is that the target was the good samwritan who called in the location of a perpetrators vehicle rather than the drive by shooter they were looking for.

  17. Paladin Says:

    @ James W Crawford;

    Based on the location of Saccone’s Pizza (13812 Research Blvd, Austin, TX) at the time of the shooting, the overpass parallels Research Blvd., right across the street. Did the cops say the shot was made from two miles away?

    Long May You ride,


  18. Paladin Says:

    I think the Romo’s killed Benesh. I also think the killing of Benesh had nothing to do with the club in question, but had everything to do with a private falling out between the Romo’s and Benesh. I am of the opinion that because the Romo’s were members of the club in question at the time of the murder, prosecutors are trying to tie the club to the murder.

    Unless I’ve missed something, which is always possible, the elephant in the room is: Why would the Romo’s confess to the unsolved murder of Benesh, especially in a State that regularly executes people for such doings? A judge is not bound to honor a plea deal made with prosecutors.


  19. James W Crawford Says:

    any fool with a quite a bit more than $2,000 can buy a good quality rifle and scope that can do a 300 yard shot. Such a rifle can shoot a 1 inch group at 100 yards. If you plan ahead, you can sight the rifle in so the elevation is zeroed at the expected range.
    Unfortunately, if you get a 15mph stiff breeze, that can cause a windage error of as much as 7 feet at 300 yards!

    The police theory that the shot was made from the overpass puts the range at 2 miles! That good quality rifle that shoots a 1 inch group at 100 yards will be shooting a 30 inch group at 2 miles! Depending on weapon caliber, bullet weight, and drag coefficient, time of flight is a minimum of 3 seconds but more likely close to 10 seconds! Bullet drop is a minimum of 160 feet! The flight time is so great for a 2 mile shot that you need to take into account how latitude and elevation affect the Earth’s gravity which is not uniform everywhere. You also need to know latitude and direction of shot to compensate for how the Earth’s rotation will effect the bullet flight path.

    The premiss of this prosecution is a bunch of crap.

  20. Filburt Says:

    This is a shit show.

  21. BigV Says:

    You guys served, Rebel, Paladin, Seig:

    You know your shit. I don’t doubt it.

    It’s just I road by Ramseur NC one time and they was these boys out there with these BIG OL BOX MAGAZINE SUMBITCHES WITH THESE LONG DILDO’S ON THE END.

    Some how them dildos made them quiet, but based on all I learnt from Hollywhood I learnt bad- cause them couldn’t have been no suppressors. Cause you know the sound barrier was still broken and there was still loud shit ?

    I seen them dildo looking things make a gun just as quiet as a barking spider in them movies.

    And hit were only 4 and some years after the DC Sniper and you know setting up on a freeway back then to change yourn tires was right tricky cause you might get your scalp split by somebody with a badge. Or something bright and shiny. Last thing I saw.

  22. Sieg Says:

    Dr G, no one has even hinted that an MC was in any way involved in this.

    Big V, good to see yer still kicking!

    One thing, though…all the shit about rifles and suppressors, and hard shots…

    Any fool with a few hundred dollars can buy a 30.06 that will, properly sighted-in, give you more than enough accuracy for a headshot out to 300 yards, if that was indeed the range.

    Another hundred or so will buy you a laser rangefinder that will tell you ‘zactly where to hold on your target for your shot.

    For free, you can check out your shot online. ( )

    So, no, it doesn’t have to be someone with the latest whizz-bang snipers rifle, and no, the rest of the stuff needed to make a 300 yard, downward, slightly moving target isn’t that esoteric. Hell, the skill-set needed isn’t even that rough…anyone that’s done any open-country hunting could make the shot.

    Oh, and I agree with the poster talking about the difficulty of dropping the trigger on a human for the first time. SLAM wrote that 3 in 10 G.I.’s in RVN fired their weapons in combat…but that doesn’t mean shit, really. Most people are born with no inhibitions about violence, but are taught that they “shouldn’t do that”. Some aren’t taught, and some enjoy it. I’d guess that whoever shot him had been to the dance before.

  23. James W Crawford Says:

    Just to put this in perspective, here is the longest distance sniper shot on record.—but-how

  24. James W Crawford Says:

    This case becomes more interesting when you examine the police theory that the lethal bullet was fired from the US 183 overpass. I just looked upbthe address of Saccone’s Pizza and measured the distance to the overpass. The distance is 2.1 miles!!! That is 3,600 yards!!! I seriously doubt if even I could make that shot. There have been some very long range sniper shots taken in Afghanistan, but these were in a very high altitude, low humidity environment where air resistance is far less problematic than most places including Austin.

    Unless the shooter had a military grade laser range finder, and an advanced ballistics computer program, there is no way in hell that he did the shooting.

    What a bunch of bullshit.

  25. Dr G Says:

    @ Paladin to further explain if the club the Romo’s belong to had knowledge of their involvement in the Benesh shooting they would have been kicked out immediately because children were involved….

  26. RickNH Says:

    @ Desdicado

    I’ve been thinking the same thing. While “who took the shot” is important, the idea that R&W is going to bless one guy setting up a charter in the Bandidos front yard seems pretty far fetched… Just sayin’

    Keep the info coming Rebel!

  27. Mark Says:

    One huge problem with the overpass shot, some scooter tramp is going to be set up waiting for a man to come out of a pizza joint to get a shot. And no one notices this activity on going on the overpass. And the shooter hasn’t a worry in the world of a cop rolling by with a few questions about his stoping on the overpass. None of which adds up in the real world, so what is the other explanation?

  28. Mountain Cruiser Says:

    I tend to believe Sonny’s version on this….

  29. growlingfhardt Says:

    A little off-topic perhaps, and also possibly semi-verboten, but here goes. The CIA needed funding for so-called Black Budgets, but when Congress required them to start listing everything they did, so as to get funding, starting in the early 1960’s, they therefore went into ‘businesses’ that supplied their needed funding for Black Projects so they didn’t need to tell Congress about many of their ‘inexcusable’ activities. This led to heroin being imported into the US from Southeast Asia in the returning coffins of Vietnam War casualties. Later the crack cocaine epidemic in Southern California as imported from Columbia via small aircraft and cooked. Then, flights into Mena, Arkansas during Bill Clinton’s Governorship era. During Bush I and Bush II, Afghanistan was the main heroin supplier after SE Asia had enough of the drug trade brutality of the local growers. OK, so that’s the “supply side” story of the equation. But in order for the CIA to actually make any money, you have to reach the “end product consumers”, that requires the “distribution” side of the equation to also be controlled. We mostly all know the story of the supply side as outlined above (mainly by Gary Wade of the San Jose Mercury News fame), but how many of us know anything about the distribution side of the story ? I say that story has not been told at all. So, to think logically, when did the HA’s start their Charter system for the legal structure of their local “cells” ? I have read about a ‘bust’ of an HA club house where they had a phenomenal amount of cocaine and huge amounts of cash. Could the 81 be the ‘distribution’ side of the equation for the CIA ? Is this why in the “1000 days of Waco” the 81 was never mentioned by the Feds, ever. The ‘fast & furious’ FBI scandal weaponized the Mexican cartels like never before. The (original founding) Zetas are known to be mostly former military operatives. Would CIA be interested to ‘take over’ the Mexican drug business ? With the explosion of meth traffic from Mexico and 1% biker clubs being caught with a lot of meth the last several years, who benefits ? Could Benesh have had ‘loose lips’ and been about to go ‘off the reservation’ and ‘off script’ and been about to ‘blow the cover’ of who his suppliers were, and thus needed to be ‘taken out’ for ‘damage control’ reasons, and perhaps mainly because his ‘impersonation’ of an 81 Charter was too ‘inconvenient’ and would lead to someone making a ‘connection’ at some point ?

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