Gonzalez Found Guilty

August 8, 2013

All Posts, News

A five man, seven woman jury in Reno found Vago Ernesto Manuel “Romeo” Gonzalez guilty of seven charges including first and second degree murder late yesterday afternoon after deliberating for about five hours. The seond degree murder charge will be incorporated into the premeditated murder charge.

Those charges refer to the shooting of Hells Angels San Jose charter president Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew during the Street Vibrations motorcycle rally in September 2011. Gonzalez admitted to shooting Pettigrew five times but he said he did so to save the life of fellow Vago Robert Wiggins who was being kicked in the head by Pettigrew.

Gonzalez was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to engage, challenge to fight resulting in death, carrying a concealed weapon and discharging a firearm in a structure. The jury reconvened this morning to consider whether to apply a Nevada “gang enhancement” to Gonzalez’ convictions. He faces up to life in prison without parole. He will be sentenced by Washoe County District Court Judge Connie Steinheimer October 3.

Two other men were also charged in the case. San Jose Hells Angel Cesar Villagrana pled guilty to battery with a deadly weapon and challenge to fight with a deadly weapon. He faces two to ten years in prison and will be sentenced by Steinheimer on September 4. Former Vago Stuart Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick pled guilty to conspiracy to murder last year, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and investigators and will be sentenced by Steinheimer on August 22. Rudnick started the fight that led to Pettigrew’s death. Because of his cooperation with authorities, Rudnick will probably avoid prison.

Lawyer Versus Lawyer

The prosecutions’ key witness in the conviction was Rudnick. Rudnick testified that ill-will between the Angels and the Vagos led to a Vagos all member meeting the night of the murder. According to Rudnick, Vagos International President Pastor “Tata” Palafox authorized an assassination of Pettigrew to stop Hells Angels from treating Vagos “like bitches.” Palafox has not been charged in the case. According to Rudnick, Gonzalez volunteered to murder Pettigrew.

In closing arguments yesterday, Gonzalez attorney David Houston told the jury, “Either Gonzalez is telling the truth or Rudnick is telling the truth. That’s what this case boils down to.”

Prosecutor Karl Hall trial strategy was to portray the shooting as part of a wider, ongoing conflict between the two clubs. Yesterday he stood in front of a display with a Hells Angels cut and a Vagos cut hanging side by side and told jurors, “This case is not about Gary Rudnick. This case is about gang warfare.” The jury believed Hall and afterward Houston was surprised.


Houston told Emerson Marcus of the Reno Gazette-Journal, “I’m still somewhat flummoxed that we could have resulted in a guilty verdict without so much as reviewing what I would consider to be a great deal of evidence.”

“(It) leads me to believe there is some concern with the idea that a very broad brush was utilized by the prosecutor to say Vagos did this, Vagos did that, and I think it may have been lost in translation that this was a case of state versus Ernesto Gonzalez,” Houston told Marcus. “It had nothing to do with state versus the Vagos.”

Houston also said Gonzalez “was very disappointed by the verdict. “He was very uplifted after closing arguments. He felt a very good case had been presented as to why he, Ernesto Gonzalez, didn’t do anything. Unfortunately, the jury disagreed and felt that Ernesto Gonzalez was a Vago, and if Vagos had done things, Ernesto Gonzalez was the only Vago in the room.”

Hall had no public comment on the verdict.

Houston, in the video below, intends to appeal the verdict. The advertisement at the beginning of the video has nothing to do with and in no way profits The Aging Rebel.

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27 Responses to “Gonzalez Found Guilty”

  1. Budweiser Says:

    Rebel- Now, I am well aware I will take heat for this, but I am going to ask a question anyway. Is it known or shown in the surveillance tapes if Gonzalez shot before or after Villagrana?

    Bill- I read every article about this case that Rebel has written, numerous others, read the comments, and scanned the grand jury testimony. I haven’t been able to find an answer to that question. Please don’t call me an idiot.

  2. Meh Says:

    Can all the video evidence (not just what was presented at trial) in the case be obtained using an FOIA request? (Make sure to get it at full resolution, which likely isn’t great anyway.)

  3. anon Says:

    How the fuck can a jury convict for first and second degree murder for the same death? My understanding has always been that there are different legal standards, and double-charging is a way for the persecution to have a back-up if their desired charge doesn’t stick, but a defendant can only be convicted of one.

    From my non-pro understanding, it should be impossible to be guilty of first and second degree murder for the same death.

    Maybe Shyster, Bowtie, or another pro can chime in on this, even if you don’t specialize in these kinds of cases.

  4. BlkChukar Says:

    Bud: Gonzalez shot after both Pettigrew, and Villagrana fired their weapons. Pettigrew fired once; wherease, Villagrana fired multiple rounds shooting both Diego, and Leonard.

    Meh: FOIA requests will likely be made by the Habeas Atty. If it gets that far.

    Anon: Yes. The counts are multiplicitous, and the state was permitted to go forward with two different theories of prosecution.

  5. Rebel Says:

    Dear anon,

    The charges are combined. Gonzalez was found guilty of both first and second degree murder and convicted of first degree murder because second degree murder was the “lesser included charge.” I think that’s how it is phrased.

    I’m sure the lawyers will straighten me out if I am wrong.


  6. Rebel Says:

    Dear Budweiser,

    To the best of my knowledge, off the top of my head, all shots fired were off camera.


  7. Paladin Says:

    To All,

    As a rule, I don’t “Monday morning quarterback another’s play. That said, there are those times when for the betterment of all, that rule needs to be broken. I feel this is one of those times.

    In all fairness to Mr. Houston (Gonzalez’ attorney), effective damage control against Rudnick’s testimony was pretty much impossible. It is an absolute fact that Rudnick dug Gonzalez grave. Unfortunately Mr. Houston helped Rudnick dig that grave, by having Gonzalez take the stand and state:

    “I was trying to kill both (Hells Angels) because they were over my brother (fellow Vago),” Gonzalez said during his testimony Monday. “They were kicking him. And they had a piece on them. Yes, I did (try to kill them) … It was either my brother got shot or them.”

    When you claim self defense, you are claiming that you are reacting to an adversary’s actions that would cause you or another, death or grave bodily injury. In the defense of self or another, you shoot to STOP an adversary’s life threatening behavior. If your adversary loses their life in the process of you defending yourself, that’s unfortunate. When claiming self defense, you never state that you shot to kill. When you state that you were trying to kill someone, you lose the mantle of innocence, because when you’re trying to kill someone, you are acting with malice and therefore lose the claim to self defense.

    If you happen to live a lifestyle that may someday require you to use lethal force to defend yourself or another, it would behoove you to plan ahead. Find an attorney that has a proven, successful track record, defending clients that have used self defense as a claim against the charges that were filed against them.

    Finding an attorney that is skilled in the above, may not be as easy as it seems. There are many facets to a claim of self defense. Some of these are, but are not limited to the following: bare fear vs. reasonable fear, furtive movement, time and distance, prior knowledge, disparity of force, AOJ (ability, opportunity, and jeopardy), deliberate indifference, and the Doctrine of Competing Harms. Because each claim of self defense is unique, some or all of the foregoing may come into play and any attorney that you would hire, needs to be intimately familiar with all of it.

    A claim of self defense is an affirmative defense. In all likelihood, it will be in your best interest to take the stand and explain to the jury why you did what you did, when you did it. This shouldn’t be a problem, if your attorney is up on his game. In my opinion, Mr. Houston wasn’t.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  8. Phuquehed Says:

    What’s even more fucked up…in the news today there was a small, quick blurb about the two shit-stains who helped the pressure-cooker terrorists. The two fucktards are only going to *possibly* be charged with some pansy-assed shit that will only net *maybe* 20 years, plus they might even get deported after serving (we all know that that means they get to go home and live good again).

    How is it that persons who are illegal aliens and are helping terrorists – who purposely target large groups of as many people as possible to kill – get less charges for this terrorism, than someone who was defending a friend and targetted *ONE* person and is also an American citizen to boot?

    Fucking legal system is no longer meant *for* American’s, and it’s all because people keep voting into office gutless, wormy pussies with no backbone and think with their hearts and their assholes.

  9. Budweiser Says:

    BlkChukar- Thank you. I assume this was brought up in Gonzalez’s defense, but they seemed to focus more on Pettigrew kicking Wiggins. If it wasn’t on camera, why didn’t Gonzalez and his team claim he was being shot at by the two? Tragic all around.

  10. BlkChukar Says:

    In most cases a person claiming self-defense or defense of others does not need to take the stand so long as there is other evidence to demonstrate that he was exercising that right. For instance, in the Zimmerman trial there existed other evidence such as the police interviews w/ Zimmerman, and a Fox interview that was introduced during the trial. In Gonzalez’s trial the jury watched the video surveillance from the casino. The video clearly showed both Pettigrew, and Villagrana displaying their firearms while kicking a defenseless man on the ground (Wiggins) w/steel-toe boots.

    What all club members must consider is that the general public fears, and looks down on club-members. The History Chanel, the news media, federal and state prosecutors, Sons of Anarchy etc. have all brain washed the public into the misguided belief that club-members are gangsters. As a result, the prosecutor will play on the public’s fear to the fullest. They will seek the gang-enhancement, claim that a rivalry existed, call so-called gang-experts, and thereby hamper the defenses ability to present a defense. In contrast, the defense must fight this fight by presenting an expert. However, Gonzalez presented no club-expert or even a self-defense expert. The only witness was Gonzalez.

    One final note. I understand that club-members do not want to be called on to testify. But if you want to see a brother present a defense. You must cooperate with his attorney when called upon.

  11. chromedome Says:

    Just my opinion but the defence attorney seems like a real piece of work. He acted very nonchalant and at times naive even. Maybe its just me but seems like more should been done from the defence.


  12. Shyster Says:


    Were you present for the duration of trial? You’re out of line by slamming Houston. The defense was fucked when the “judge” intentionally answered a jury question in opposition to Nevada Law. 15 minutes later the jury convicted. I personally met David Houston 3 times over the past month. He was winning. The DA knew it. The Judge knew it. And the DHS and ATF knew it. So the jury sends out a question which lets the world know they are on the brink of acquitting and the judge, over the strenuous objections by Houston, answers the jury’s question in opposition to the law so they can convict. And that right there is the truth.

    Everyone lost on this case. Pettigrew, Ernesto Gonzalez, Vagos, HA, the citizenry, …. And a lying fucken rat who started the whole fight by running his drunken mouth told a tall tale generated by one San Bernardino Cop and a DHS agent in January 2012 to defeat any potential claims by the defense of self defense (pigs saw the video and the video dont lie) . So now the Vagos will suffer commando style raids by the Federal Boogeymen, AR-15’s will be pointed at sleeping children at 5:00am, and the RICO charges will be levied against innocent men who were never part of a conspiracy to kill (because there never was one) all in the name of LIES created by fucken pigs.

    Rebel – after the Burgess book, maybe you will have time for a cup of coffee.

    Jabbers – you sold your soul to the fucken devil. I hear your phone calls with you crying on the phone in 2011 mysteriously vanished and were never turned over to Houston.

    Paladin – you have no clue.


  13. chromedome Says:

    I think paladin made a valid point, not trying to butt heads with shyster but i thought the defence was lacking. Although i didnt see the whole trial. So my opinion is kinda uninformed. I can agree on one thing everyone got fucked except the bitch ass slimy shit sucker that started it….

  14. Paladin Says:


    You’re right. I wasn’t there for the whole trial, and I’m not saying that Mr. Houston isn’t a good attorney. I am saying I think Mr. Houston made a big mistake, letting Mr. Gonzalez take the stand and say what he said. Therefore, I don’t think Mr. Houston was at the top of his game, at least not that portion of it.

    I wrote what I wrote in my post, because I thought it was, and I think it is important for anyone that finds themselves in a situation where they’re having to explain their actions regarding a claim of self defense, to not say to a jury what Gonzalez had said.

    You know as well as I do, that you can’t claim self defense while stating that at the time of the occurance you were trying to kill an adversary. Shooting to kill = malice. Shooting to stop an adversary’s life threatening actions = self defense.

    Shyster – I do have a clue.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  15. Glenn S. Says:

    Shyster said: “So the jury sends out a question which lets the world know they are on the brink of acquitting and the judge, over the strenuous objections by Houston, answers the jury’s question in opposition to the law so they can convict.”

    So what was the question and what was the answer and how was the answer in opposition to the law? Or did I miss something in the articles and comments?

    IMHO, every American owes it to himself to become at least as well versed in the laws that might affect him, human nature as relates to juries, and the nuances of the trial process as he is in his favorite sport involving a team and a ball. Don’t assume that if you get in legal trouble, the lawyers will know everything so you don’t have to. Not saying this was the case here, but I’ve known a lot of people that might not have gone to prison if they had made themselves more aware beforehand.

  16. Robert Wiggins Says:

    Romeo saved my life that night. I will be grateful of that for the rest of my life.

  17. Irish Mike Says:

    This is unjust. Jabbers is a liar. He is just s coward, always was, always will be. He cooperated with authorities to avoid jail time. He lied about Tata and was never anything but a dishonest coward. He consistantly used his fellow brothers to protect him from his bullying and inablityvto be a standup man. He will rot in hell. Romeo needs to get a fair trial. He was defending a man whovwas getting beat to death and other people in the casino. Hopefully, justice will prevail in the appeal

  18. Just Another Patch Says:

    this brings out a whole new set of problems it might take a few years to appeal and get this right. In the meanwhile I’m sure the DOJ will be arresting and raiding more members based of false and flat made up information which will cause a lot of good people a whole of unjust misery

  19. Joe Shmoe Says:

    I’ve known Houston for a long time. He is well respected in northern Nevada, though I have no ideal why. Your assessment is right to an extent. I admit I haven’t read the transcripts yet nor was I in court at all. My understanding barely scratches the surface on this one. But, Rudnic rehearsed his testimony and Gonzolez obviously didn’t. Houston didn’t have to call the most important witness (Wiggens) because the prosecution did. Wiggins did make a strong case for self defense. As far as a slam dunk case at that point, I’m not so sure. But, what kind of idiot attorney lets his client get on the stand without having answers to a question as basic as “where did you get the gun?”. Gonzalez could have been completely honest about everything he said, but getting entangled in that lie is what cost him. No jury in the world is going to acquit a man that shoots another man “in the back” (unless it’s his mom or daughter) and gets caught up in a lie like that. Why couldn’t he just tell the truth and bite the bullet on a concealed weapons charge? I’m not sure Houston has ever won a high profile case in court. He’s done great with appeals, bargains and writs, but I’m no fan of his courtroom demeanor. You are right though, everyone lost in this one.

  20. rollinnorth Says:

    Amen, Shyster!
    Having an opinion on the outcome of a case is all well and good, but, until you have been saddled with the incredible burden of being responsible for someone else’s liberty, if not their life, and until you have fought against the overwhelming power of the government in its courts, you cannot truly know what is happening.

    We can only hope that some of the shenanigans that went on in this case result in a successful appeal, although that usually means a new trial, at best.


  21. OC VAGO Says:

    I don’t know the details but, if the judge did answer the jury’s question in opposition to the law isn’t there more than just an appeal that can be filed? Isn’t there some liability to hold the judge to? What recourse is there when a judge fucks up?

  22. chromedome Says:

    @oc hindsight is always 2020 but shouldnt the defence have called objection at that moment? Also why wasnt rudnicks credibility as a witnessed attacked as well. i always get wrapped up in a trial like it a boxing match lol. No disrespect to mr housten intended just saying fight to the death lol..

    …Supportyourlocalwhiteboy… Free norm Free curtis Free lowboy Free struggle Free bobthebuilder

  23. RLG Says:

    @Paladin, your comments on use of force for self defense were spot on.

  24. gabster.1% Says:

    chalk one more up for the government, using dirtbags like ruddnicnuts,to tell some yarn for some half awake,jury, displaying cuts instead of real evidence,the whole deal is a waste. Ironic,gonzalass supposidly shoots a good man 5 times for one brother, and the other brother co-operates with the gov. I say it is a sad waste for every one.but I don’t know nothing. I do know how the court system works, and man what a zoooooo. my best to all those facing the system and its paid informents and lying sell outs. LandR to mtm and others upstate NY. allways, respectfully,Gabster.1% also thanks rebel for your hard work..

  25. OC VAGO Says:

    Here is the Account for ( ROMEO ) Lawyer for the Appeal, we need to Raise $50,000 in a very short time PLEASE HELP if you can.
    In the USA: Richard Nickerson, Bank of America Account ( # 1641 0997 3644 ) Zip code 95008
    Outside of USA; Inter swift # B of A US3N, Routing # 12000358

  26. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    Bobby, Romeo has no doubt always been a solid, loyal and honorable man since day one and you should never doubt the love and respect he or I have for you Brother.

    Everyone remember that this page and other social media could be used by the prosecution.

    Loose Lips Sink Ships.

    Viva Los Vagos

  27. AVAGOVFFV Says:

    And for those that have a spare a dime Romeo could always use a few bucks on his books over at High Desert.

    Viva Los Vagos

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