Former Vago Stuart Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick took the witness stand in Reno this morning and lied.
Most of his testimony in the murder trial of Rudnick’s former club brother Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez was true but Rudnick lied about the most important elements in the case. He lied about details that may lead naïve jurors to reach erroneous conclusions about motive, premeditation and how the motorcycle outlaw world works.
Rudnick lied to save his life and make a brand new start in 2013. He lied to pay for his new beginning with Gonzalez’ life. The prosecutor who put him on the stand knew he would lie, had encouraged him to lie and had coached him to lie. The federal agents from at least four national police forces, who lurk behind this case like ghosts hiding in shadows in a gothic novel, promised to protect and reward Jabbers for lying.
Everybody who knows anything about this case knows what happened that night.
Rudnick Did It
Jabbers Rudnick started a riot. The Angels and Vagos were getting along. They did not love each other but they were at peace. The two clubs had had their differences, including an attention grabbing gunfight in Prescott Valley, Arizona in 2010. But that night, on the casino floor just outside Trader Dick’s Lounge at John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, the two clubs peacefully coexisted.
It was the Vagos hotel. A few Angels were staying there because they hoped to sell some tee-shirts. Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, President of the San Jose charter of the Hells Angels couldn’t help but notice the sea of green which was why he was working the casino floor like a South Boston politician with petition papers – shaking hands and patting shoulders. And Jabbers Rudnick, who was drunk, and who is apparently a mean drunk, was determined to start a fight with Pettigrew – for reasons that might only be fully understood by Sigmund Freud. A few weeks after the gunfight, a friend of Rudnick’s tried to explain Jabbers’ pugnacity with, “He’s a great guy. He just doesn’t like Hells Angels.”
Eventually on September 23, 2011, after an hour or so, after practically every other man in the Vagos Motorcycle Club had told him to just calm down and relax, Jabbers Rudnick finally found Jethro Pettigrew’s on-button. And then there was, by all accounts, a massive and confused explosion of violence as only two name-brand motorcycle clubs can violently explode. Rudnick singlehandedly created a gruesome, preventable tragedy which is why a half-dozen of his club brothers went to his house two days later and demanded his colors and his motorcycle. Rudnick saw his expulsion coming which is why he had already hidden his motorcycle. And, if anybody should be on trial for murder it is Jabbers Rudnick.
So, it is hard to excuse today’s cynical travesty of justice. The Vagos and the Angels and their differences better be that vital to national security. There better be some half-baked Tajikistani dude down in Gitmo who has revealed under enhanced interrogation that the two clubs are converting to Islam and are stockpiling suitcase nukes. Otherwise this prosecution should be prosecuted as an attempted lynching as this whole case was initially prosecuted under an archaic law intended to outlaw arranged duels.
This morning Rudnick testified that the fight had been planned in advance and that he was merely one actor playing a part. He testified that earlier that day on Highway 99 members of a group of broken down Vagos were ordered to remove their colors by a group of Hells Angels. He said there was an all members meeting at eight o’clock that night and at that meeting leaders of the club discussed the “Hells Angels treating us like bitches.”
“We were told that was our hotel,” Rudnick told the jurors, “that we were staying there.” He said that San Jose Vagos, who had generally gotten along amicably with San Jose Angels, were ordered by somebody to not let the Angels get on the elevators and go to their rooms. Then, Rudnick testified, he approached Pettigrew and asked “if we were all cool,” which, according to numerous sources, is close to what Rudnick actually said.
According to Rudnick, Pettigrew called Rudnick a “bitch.” When Rudnick, according to Rudnick, politely objected Pettigrew “took a swing at me.” Rudnick says he then “backed up.” Pettigrew “pulled out his gun.” And, Rudnick “ran behind slot machines.”
Rudnick testified that while he hid, he kept his eye on Gonzalez “because I didn’t want to get shot.” He told jurors he “knew there was going to be a shooting.”
The next day, according to Rudnick, he talked to Gonzalez about the shooting and Gonzalez confessed, “I did it.”
There will probably be two more days of testimony before the case goes to the jury.