Nevada Judge Connie Steinheimer sentenced former Gary “Jabbers” Rudnick to seven years in prison yesterday. Rudnick pled guilty to conspiracy to murder last year.
The charge is the result of a very violent brawl between Hells Angels and Vagos in John Ascuaga’s Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada on September 23, 2011. By all accounts except the prosecutor’s, Rudnick started the fight. A member of the Vagos testified that Rudnick hoped to collect a Hells Angels cut as a souvenir. Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose charter of the Hells Angels, died in the fight.
Rudnick is the first defendant to be sentenced in the case.
Cesar Villagrana, the sergeant at arms of the Angels pled guilty last month to one count of battery with a deadly weapon and one count of challenge to fight with a deadly weapon. Villagrana will be sentenced on September 4th.
Vago Ernesto Manuel “Romeo” Gonzalez was convicted of multiple charges including murder August 7th. Gonzalez will be sentenced October 3rd. Gonzalez faces life in prison.
Rudnick will be eligible for parole in two years.
Instigator and Witness
Rudnick was expelled from the Vagos two days after Pettigrew’s murder and he became the chief prosecution witness against Gonzalez.
According to Rudnick, Pettigrew’s murder was a premeditated hit and he was only one small actor in a highly orchestrated plot. He claimed the murder culminated almost two years of friction between the two motorcycle clubs with the latest conflict being the alleged harassment of Vagos by Hells Angels earlier that day.
Rudnick testified that the murder was ordered by Vagos Motorcycle Club President Pastor “Tata” Palafox in front of 200 witnesses because the Hells Angels were treating Vagos “like bitches.” Palafox has not been charged in the case. According to Rudnick, Gonzalez volunteered to murder Pettigrew at that meeting and Gonzalez admitted the murder to Rudnick the next day. Rudnick also testified that he did not see the murder because he was hiding behind a bank of slot machines at the time.