The Rock Hell racketeering case filed eleven months ago against members of the Hells Angels, Red Devils and Southern Gentlemen Motorcycle Clubs in South Carolina zombies on.
In the last week a couple of notable defendants have been sentenced. Two more are scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow and two more are scheduled to be sentenced later this month.
Byrum And Chitwood
Two members of the Southern Gentlemen were sentenced last week.
Kerry “Gowilla” Chitwood was sentenced on May 2nd to 20 years in prison followed by ten years of supervised release. He must also participate in a substance abuse program and forfeit his motorcycle. Chitwood, apparently on the advice of his attorney, pled guilty to narcotics conspiracy on February 11 as the trial of the remaining defendants in the case was about to begin.
Ronald Dean “Big Ron” Byrum, who pled guilty to narcotics conspiracy on January 17th, was sentenced May 3rd to 51 months in prison. In addition, Byrum must endure a subsequent 96 months of supervised probation. While on probation, Byrum must cheerfully “participate in a substance abuse treatment program, to include drug testing” and “participate in a mental health treatment program as approved by the U.S. Probation Office.” “Substance abuse treatment” and “mental health treatment” are what the North Koreans more frankly call “re-education.” Unless he comes out of prison with a job waiting for him, Byrum must also “participate in a Vocational Training or Work Force Development Program as approved by the U.S. Probation Office.” Byrum also forfeits his motorcycle. Byrum was tape recorded bragging to fellow defendant and club brother Kerry Chitwood that he had seen “multiple kilos” of cocaine.
Rhodus And Looper
Two of the alleged conspirators will be sentenced tomorrow.
James “Sonny” Rhodus pled guilty to money laundering on January 17th. Rhodus deposited money in his bank account for a despicable federal informant named Joseph “Midas” Dillulio. Although Rhodus never actually met Dillulio, Rhodus did him the favor anyway. Rhodus will probably be sentenced to probation.
Johanna Looper will also be sentenced tomorrow. She pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy on January 17th. Looper was the girlfriend of a Hells Angel Prospect named Donald Boersma. What she actually did was deliver 50 legally obtained Percocet pills at the request of the pills legal possessor, Frank Enriquez, to Dillulio with the knowledge that Enriquez was selling them to Dillulio for $300. Dillulio then asked Looper if she needed any money. Looper, who was in dire financial straights, said “yes.” Dillulio, who cultivated the reputation of a big spender, then tipped Looper $40 at which point, the government argued, she became a racketeer. Looper also almost delivered more pills to Dillulio two weeks later before Dan Bifield told her not to associate with the man. Looper faces a potential sentence of 20 years in prison.
Dan and Lisa Bifield, the husband and wife the government has repeatedly accused of being at the heart of the alleged underworld conspiracy, were scheduled to be sentenced tomorrow. They will now be sentenced together on May 29th. They both made plea deals last December 27th. Dan Bifield agreed to plead guilty and be sentenced to 20 years if his wife did not have to testify and was sentenced to no more than five years in prison.
When he learned that his wife would be required to testify Dan Bifield sought to withdraw his plea deal and, subsequently, Lisa Bifield refused to testify for the government. Lisa Bifield now faces seven years to life in prison. Judge Cameron McGowan Currie denied Bifield’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea in April.
The argument between attorney Joshua Kendrick who represents former Hells Angels Rock Hell Nomads’ charter member Bruce Long and prosecutor Julius N. Richardson remains unresolved. Long (photo above) was found guilty of numerous counts including narcotics conspiracy and racketeering conspiracy on March 14th and Kendrick moved for a directed verdict of acquittal on April 3rd. Kendrick believes that Long’s alleged crimes would never have occurred without the instigation of Dillulio.
Richardson has argued back that “a RICO conspiracy does not require that even a single racketeering act occur, much less a pattern. The gravamen (a lawyer word which means grievance or crime) of the conspiracy is the agreement, which does not require that any specific act actually occur. As RICO conspiracy does not require an act to have occurred, it also does not require that such acts be related or pose a threat of continuity. While the agreement must contemplate an enterprise that commits a pattern of racketeering acts, neither the enterprise nor a pattern of racketeering acts need actually occur.”
Richardson also argues that Long must be guilty because he is a Hells Angel. He claims “the acts were related based on the kickbacks the Hells Angels and their leadership obtained as a result of the members’ racketeering activity…the standard operating procedure for the Hells Angels, by which the group existed to facilitate the illicit ‘business’ of its members.”
Kendrick has until Friday to formally reply to the prosecutor.
This story was originally published on May 8, 2013 and was corrected on May 9 and May 10 to correct factual errors.