Self-evidently, the blood feud between the Mongols Motorcycle Club and the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club did not skip a beat after the Mongols pulled former President Ruben “Doc” Cavazos patch last August.
Four Mongols pled nolo contendere to reduced charges yesterday in the shooting of 43-year-old Robert Daniel Thompson of Merced, California. Nolo Contendere is lawyer’s Latin for “I ain’t sayin’ nothin’.” It is usually reported as meaning, “no contest.”
Thompson was found lying in a pool of his own blood after being shot several times outside a bar called The Shanty at the corner of Third and C Streets In Eureka, California about 11 pm on November 8th. Thompson, a member of the Hells Angels was wearing an Angels tee-shirt when he was shot.
Eric Gunner Lundin, 28, pleaded no contest to felony assault with a firearm and being a member of a criminal street gang-by which the prosecutor meant the Mongols. He faces two to three years in prison.
Dustin Liebes, 36 and Eric Garcia, 28 both pleaded no contest to participation in a criminal street gang. Brad Miller, 26, pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact to felony assault. Those three face a maximum sentence of one year in prison.
All four of the accused will be formally sentenced January 15th. They had been charged with attempted murder.
Thompson, 43, refused to testify against his alleged attackers. When authorities first arrived at the shooting scene they found a .22 caliber handgun with one spent shell lying on the ground near the victim’s body. Thompson also testified that he knew nothing about the handgun.
Thompson had just been released after two years in the Merced County Jail. During that time he was tried twice for the murder of two girls, 12-year-old Jodi Ragsdale and 15-year-old Sheila Carter The girls were murdered during the early morning hours of Dec. 13, 1986. When the girl’s bodies were discovered the next morning they had been so badly beaten they were unrecognizable. The first trial ended in a mistrial. The second trial ended in Thompson’s acquittal.
Eureka authorities were determined to prove this shooting was part of an ongoing “war” between the Mongols and the Angels from which the public at large must be protected.
At the time of their apprehension, police found that Lundin, Liebes and Garcia all had Mongols’ club only tattoos.
Local authorities had Chris Cervantes, a detective with the Montebello, California Police Department and a “motorcycle gang expert” flown in to testify at the preliminary hearing for the case. Montebello is a small city east of Los Angeles. Eureka is in far northern California.
Cervantes testified about the meaning of the accused men’s tattoos, which included one percenter tattoos, “MFFM,” the Mongols’ “RFFN,” which means “Respect Few Fear None” and the Mongols’ center patch which Garcia had tattooed on his forearm.
“This is a war,” the detective testified. “These guys are trying to kill each other, and the Mongols are winning.” Cervantes took the nolo plea to be an admission of guilt-which it clearly is not. He told the Eureka Times-Standard, “the men’s admission has bolstered law enforcement’s battle against the (Mongols) outlaw biker gang.”
No Club Business On The Phone
In addition to Detective Cervantes most excellent expertness, the state’s argument that this was a crime committed on behalf of the Mongols Motorcycle Club was supported by the defendant’s apparent, astounding, ignorance that all telephone calls made from jail are tapped.
Deputy District Attorney Ben McLaughlin, the prosecutor in this case, entered tape recordings of multiple telephone calls Lundin made to the Mongols Mother Chapter in which he asked that club funds be used to pay his attorney fees.