Fifteen days ago, on December 2, James R. “Bones” Claypool became the ninth defendant in the current federal case against the Pagans Motorcycle Club to agree to cooperate with prosecutors. The plea agreement had been sealed until yesterday.
As with every other cooperating defendant in the case, Claypool agreed to “be forthright and truthful with (prosecutors) and other law enforcement agencies with regard to all inquiries made pursuant to this agreement and will give signed, sworn statements and grand jury and trial testimony upon request of the United States.
The Formal Confession
As part of his deal, Claypool has already stated for the record that he “was a member of the Buckhannon, West Virginia chapter of the Pagans Motorcycle Club. Elmer Luke Moore, also known as “Tramp,” was the president of the Buckhannon, West Virginia chapter of the Pagans. As a local chapter president, Elmer Moore could and did order members of his chapter, such as Claypool, to commit crimes.
“On January 10, 2009, a mandatory Pagans event was held in Hammonton, New Jersey. Claypool, Steve Knight, also known as “Steve-O,” and Brian Mitchell, also known as “Kegs,” traveled from West Virginia to Hammonton, New Jersey to attend the event. Other Pagans members including Elmer Moore, Eric W. Wolfe, also known as “Fritz,” and a person known to both parties (the “Known Person”,) traveled to Hammonton, New Jersey from St. Albans, Kanawha County, West Virginia, within the Southern District of West Virginia. Also present at the event were Pagans members from chapters in New Jersey and Philadelphia, among others.”
The “Known Person”
“After arriving in New Jersey, the “Known Person” reported to one of the hotel rooms at the hotel where the Pagans members were staying. When the “Known Person” arrived at the room, several Pagans members including Rocco J. Boyd, also known as “Rocky,” Joseph Frank Cotton, also known as “Rattler,” and others were present in the room. The members accused the “Known Person” of being an informant and searched him for a wire. Elmer Moore and Claypool then came into the room and Elmer Moore ordered Claypool to hit the “Known Person.” Claypool hit the “Known Person” in the head. Other Pagans members also hit the “Known Person.” The “Known Person” was beaten by the Pagans members because they believed he was working for law enforcement and providing information to law enforcement about crimes committed by the Pagans.
“Elmer Moore ordered Claypool to beat the “Known Person” for those same reasons. Members of the Pagans were always concerned that their organization would be infiltrated by law enforcement officers or by people cooperating with law enforcement officers, so when they suspected someone was such a person, like Elmer Moore, Claypool and others thought of the “Known Person,” they assaulted and intimidated those people to discourage them from staying in the Pagans and from cooperating with law enforcement. Claypool was aware that the Pagans believed the “Known Person” was cooperating with law enforcement and that he was communicating information to law enforcement officers about the commission of federal offenses committed in the Southern District of West Virginia, and Claypool knowingly and voluntarily followed Elmer Moore’s orders to hit the Known Person.”
Claypool had been charged in the indictment with six criminal violations: Obstruction of Justice; violent crime in aid of racketeering; criminal conspiracy; working as a bodyguard for a violent felon; possessing a firearm after being convicted of domestic violence; and distribution of cocaine.
A cruel judge could have run the charges to give Claypool up to 30 years in prison.
After he agreed to cooperate the prosecution agreed to drop all charges against him except a single charge of obstruction of justice.
Previously in the Pagans Case
In late October four defendants, Eric Lyttle, 30, James Lyttle, 55, William Hankins Sr., 54, and Edward Parsons, 29, agreed to reduced sentences in return for cooperating with prosecutors.
About six weeks ago Donnie Ray “Hoss” Workman and James N. Maggio also decided to burn their bridges and make a fresh start with their lives. And, more recently Michael Roy “Butterbean” Sneed and Thomas “Grumpy” Morris promised to take off their patches and leave their motorcycle club behind.