Three important witnesses testified at the continuing trial Of Mongol Christopher Ablett Tuesday. Ablett is accused of racketeering and of murdering Hells Angel Mark Guardado in San Francisco in September 2008.
The prosecution is trying to prove three allegations that could put Ablett in prison for life. The first is that Ablett intentionally murdered Guardado. The second is that Ablett murdered Guardado in order to gain prestige within the Mongols Motorcycle Club. The third allegation is that Guardado’s murder was predatory act by the Mongols Motorcycle Club against the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.
Ablett’s defense attorneys have argued all along that their client was confronted by five attackers and that he acted in self-defense.
The three witnesses the government called Tuesday to support its version of events were a forensic pathologist named Jon Smith, “an expert in the Mongols Motorcycle Gang” named John Ciccone and a victim of an alleged, ongoing war between the Mongols and the Hells Angels. The victim’s name is Dain Fish.
Dr. Jon Smith was the San Francisco Assistant Medical Examiner who examined Guardado’s body. Guardado suffered four stab wounds and two gun shot wounds. The defense objected to what Dr. Smith thinks the wounds meant. The Judge in the case, Richard Seeborg (above), allowed the jury to hear Smith’s expert interpretation.
Smith believes that three of the stab wounds, wounds to Guardado’s forearm, upper arm, and upper back, were non-fatal. He believes the wound to the forearm was a defensive wound and that the fourth knife wound, to the rear of Guardado’s left armpit, was potentially fatal. Smith also believes “that these wounds could possibly be inflicted by a person facing Mr. Guardado upright, but that scenario is very unlikely. They are more consistent with stabbings from behind, on top, or from above Mr. Guardado.”
Smith also thinks that both gunshot wounds, to the head and the heart, were “fatal” and that they were fired from more than one foot away. He is certain that the gunshot wound to the chest was fired from Guardado’s front. But he also thinks “that the angle and path of the gunshot wound to Mr. Guardado’s head was consistent with Mr. Guardado laying flat on his stomach and a shooter standing towards the feet of Mr. Guardado.” Smith’s testimony undermines Ablett’s argument that he acted in self-defense because it paints a picture of Guardado’s killer shooting the already wounded man in the back of the head from behind.
Smith testified for two hours Tuesday.
Ciccone And Fish
The government intends to prove that Ablett executed Guardado as an incident in an underworld war between the Mongols and the Hells Angels over territory.
The first witness to make that accusation is Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Special Agent John Ciccone. Ciccone has supervised multiple undercover investigations of both motorcycle club. Two of those investigations, given the public relations labels Operation Ivan (Mongols) and Operation Black Biscuit (Hells Angels), were the subject of books and numerous television documentaries. At least three of the books have been optioned as movies.
Ciccone has always portrayed both clubs as organized criminal enterprises and he has characterized the Mongols as a violent threat to public safety. The government will support its contention that the Mongols Motorcycle Club, as an institution, sells drugs using evidence collected during the most recent ATF investigation of the Mongols, called Operation Black Rain. Ciccone was on the stand for 97 minutes.
The government also intends to support its contention that Guardado was the victim of a criminal war by introducing into the case four confrontations between Mongols and Hells Angels. Those incidents are a fight in Los Banos, California in 2008; the well publicized fight between members of the two clubs in Harrah’s Casino in Lauglin, Nevada in April 2002; and a shooting at a toy run in Norco California in 2005.
A fireman named Dain Fish was wounded during the Norco shooting. And, today he testified for 50 minutes about being an innocent victim of the Mongols’ blood lust for Hells Angels.