The trial of Mongols Motorcycle Club patch holder Christopher Ablett wrapped up its third day Wednesday. Ablett is accused of murdering Hells Angels Frisco charter President Mark Guardado in a street fight in San Francisco in September 2008. The trial will recess tomorrow.
The case was nationally sensational for about six months in late 2008 and early 2009. Then it exemplified the “furious war” between the Mongols and the Hells Angels. Now that passions have cooled the fight looks more like just another heartbreaking tragedy. So not a single Bay Area newspaper has written a word about Ablett’s trial. And the case was always way too complicated for television.
Trials, even racketeering murder trials, are deliberate and slow anyway. If you care, here’s what you’ve missed.
First Day Of Testimony
The most interesting witness during the first day of testimony was a woman named Amie Marvel. Marvel and her roommate Joyce Yu spent the evening with Ablett.
Ablett and Guardado met that night only because Ablett dropped his bike when he almost rear-ended Marvel’s Toyota pickup truck. When his touring bike fell over a feature of the Electronic Fuel Injection called the Base Angle Sensor shut off the gas. That prevented Ablett from restarting his motorcycle. So Ablett and Marvel lingered there and flirted with each other while they waited for the bike to spontaneously heal. Yu politely waited in the truck
Guardado arrived about the time the three of them were ready to leave. Marvel got out of her truck and ordered the men to “Stop it” when they began to argue. She was the closest known witness to the fight. She was the second witness called by the prosecution but the actions she describes support Ablett’s assertion that he acted in self defense. She was on the stand for almost two hours with a 20 minute break.
The rest of the first day was taken up with witnesses who testified that there had been a homicide and that Ablett had been there. The first witness called was a young cop named Stephen Gritsch who was one of the first policemen on the scene.
The prosecution also called two other witnesses, Matthew Dudley and Michael Goss.
Second Day Of Testimony
Most of the second day of testimony was intended to establish that Ablett was in the Dirty Thieves with the two women the night of the fight, and that he was drinking moderately, wearing a Mongols tee shirt and threatening to play pool.
The first witness called was a bartender named Mia Stableford who started work about 90 minutes before Guardado died. She twice failed to identify Ablett in photo lineups shortly after the fight. She also failed to identify an early suspect in the homicide named Clifford LaVoy in a separate photo lineup but she did hear “three or four gudshots.”
Two of the seven witnesses called Wednesday, customers in the bar named David McCarthy and Pamela Cunningham, did identify Ablett from photo lineups on the stand. So Ablett was definitely there and he was wearing a tee shirt that had the words “Mongols” and “Virginia” on it.
Jurors were shown that shirt as well as Ablett’s black, leather jacket and a videotape of the crime scene.
The last witness to testify Wednesday was Joyce Yu. She saw less of the fight than Marvel but she did see Ablett making “stabbing motions” and heard Guardado say “He keeps stabbing me.” Among Guardado’s wounds were two, apparently defensive, stab wounds in his left arm.
The trial will reconvene Friday.
The official log of the conclusion of the trial on Wednesday reads: “Court and counsel present outside the presence of the jury Re: witnesses scheduled for Friday; reading transcript of witness George Jiminez; retesting narcotics; no contact with CI; Mr. McArther; Government needs D.O.B. and social security numbers from defense.”
Readers can make they want of the reference to a Confidential Informant.
George Jimenez (photo above) was the friendly stranger who spotted Ablett smoking a cigarette outside the Dirty Thieves and he was one of four witnesses who gave testimony before the federal grand jury that indicted Ablett for racketeering. The other witnesses were an FBI agent named Jake D. Millspaugh, the allegedly “legendary” ATF Agent John Ciccone and a friend of the San Francisco Angels named Samuel Thunder Sun Watso. Jimenez, who is now dead, called Watso the night of the murder to report the Ablett sighting. Watso then called Guardado and reported “There are Mongols down on Treat.”
That was the phone call that summoned Guardado to his fate.