Forget about CSI. A member of the Ghost Riders Motorcycle Club has been convicted in Kent County, Washington of the premeditated murder of a man who disappeared four years ago.
“I’m very, very pleased,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Scott O’Toole told the Seattle Times. “There was no body, no forensics and no weapon.”
A Biker Murder
Wednesday, a jury found John Price, 37, guilty of killing Donald Jessup, 60, on Dec. 16, 2004. The case has titillated the public for years because it is an alleged “biker murder.”
Price rode with the Ghost Riders which are not connected to the better known Ghost Mountain Riders Motorcycle Club. Jessup was a former president of the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle Club. The Gypsy Jokers are regarded respectfully in the Pacific Northwest.
Price was convicted on the testimony of three witnesses.
Price became a suspect based on the testimony of a classic snitch. A drug dealer named Jason Rebman, told police investigating Jessup’s disappearance that Jessup was dead and that Price had killed him. Rebman had been caught in possession of more than a kilogram of crystal methamphetamine, and he traded his testimony against Price for leniency in his drug case.
Rebman also referred police to two women, one of whom testified that she had been in Price’s home with Price when he killed Jessup. That woman was Chanel Ridley, the 23-year-old mother of Price’s three children. Price was also convicted of witness tampering for trying to convince Ridley not to testify against him.
Apparently, the couple was not as close as Price had assumed. Price’s nickname may also have worked to his disadvantage. Friends called him “Nazi John.”
According to the prosecution, Price stored his motorcycle in a building owned by Jessup and then Jessup stole the bike. After almost three months of getting nowhere, Price invited Jessup to his house for dinner and a frank talk. Ridley testified, that Jessup laughed at Price as he ate Price’s food and offered to sell his motorcycle back to him for $800.
Price became enraged, walked away then came back. When he came back he had an axe handle and a handgun. According to Ridley, Price beat Jessup to the floor with the axe handle then shot him in the face.
According to the prosecutor, Price then enlisted the help of two other Ghost Riders patch holders to help him sanitize the crime scene and dispose of the body. If they did so, they did an outstanding job.
Jessup has never been found and the defense could not convince the jury that Jessup was missing because he wanted to be missing. Jessup’s body was never found although the jury was convinced by the prosecution that there was a body and that Price had disposed of it “up north.”
Police searched Price’s home, vehicles and person but no DNA or other evidence that might substantially link Price to the alleged crime was ever found.
Price now faces 30 years in prison.