Four Hell's Angels given suspended 5-year sentences

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

EUREKA SPRINGS -- Four of six Hell's Angels members charged with four counts of first-degree battery and aggravated riot, with enhancement for engaging in a violent criminal group, involving an altercation with Bandidos on July 29, 2007, pleaded guilty to a single reduced charge of second-degree battery, a Class D felony, during circuit court action Monday morning in Eureka Springs.

The case against Christopher Sweeney, 38, of Lynn, Mass., was continued to Oct. 12, as he is currently in custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

Charges against Manny R. Monteiro, 35, formerly of Danvers, Mass., were dismissed, with the possibility of being refiled, as he has been deported back to Portugal.

Appearing in suits along with their attorneys, Robert Thomas Reynolds, 39, of San Down, N.H., Jason David Gallo, 37, of Peabody, Mass, Eric Claudio Franco, 34, of Lynn, Mass., and Derek Jeffrey Roy, 23, of Lisbon Falls, Maine, were handed five-year suspended prison sentences, and each was ordered to pay $4,400 in costs, fines and DNA detection fees.

The agreement also states that the four will waive any extradition back to Arkansas.

The case, according to Prosecutor Tony Rogers, was difficult due to the subsequent deaths of two of the victims, and the refusal to cooperate in prosecution on the part of the other victims.

Injured in the attack, which took place adjacent to Gingerbread Antiques, were Isidro Savala Zerrata Jr., 49, and Keith Miller, 60, both of Lubbock, Texas, David Wood, 38, of Amarillo, Texas, and Thomas Goodnight, age unknown, also of Lubbock.

The cases had been set for trial in late summer of 2008, but were continued on a motion by defense attorneys. In a pretrial hearing heard by Judge Alan Epley, a motion was granted prohibiting testimony from one of the victims and from the lead police investigator, Detective Morris Pate. That ruling was subsequently overturned by Judge Gerald K. Crow, and a trial was set for March 16.

Subsequent negotiations led to the final agreement, which disposed of the case with the felony convictions, Rogers said.

Rogers noted that obtaining felony convictions despite the obstacles is the best possible outcome for the citizens of Carroll County.

The case began about 2:30 p.m. on July 29, 2007, when off-duty Eureka Springs Police Officer Detective Shelley Summers drove past the Gingerbread Antique Building and noted several Hell's Angels beating people on the ground in the parking lot with baseball bats.

After requesting assistance by law enforcement and emergency medical personnel, Summers saw the Hell's Angels flee the scene, heading east on U.S. Hwy. 62, and found four victims injured by blunt trauma or stabbing or both, and in serious to very serious condiction.

The injured were evacuated by helicopter for medical treatment.

A pursuit was set up and roadblocks established, and about three hours later, in the vicinity of The Outpost, the defendants were taken into custody after being identified by Bandidos.

In response to an IRS request for a lien on Gallo's bond, Judge Kent Crow refused to rule, saying he did not know whose money it was. All personal property, except contraband and weapons, is to be returned to the defendants.

The plea agreement originally called for Crow to complete the judgement order within seven days, a task Crow assigned to Rogers.

Rogers, who drafted the agreement, stated, "Your honor, I guess that was just wishful thinking."

In pronouncing sentence, Crow addressed the defendants as "gentlemen."

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  • what a crock!

    -- Posted by recdoctor on Wed, Mar 18, 2009, at 9:42 PM
  • Not surprising. Forget Hell's Angels. What about our kids being raped? The County Prosecutors cannot put away any murders or rapists. The last conviction for a sex crime, (besides a fluke that happened just 2 weeks ago) was in early 2006. There have been over 100 sex crimes, WITH VICTIMS, in Carroll County, in that time. What happened to the preps? No charges filed, pled out, and one acquittal. That's right, 3 trials in three years for over 100 sex crimes. What happened to the victims? "I'm sorry." The last victim's family was greeted by FIVE, semi-automatic armed sheriff deputies at a meeting with these prosecutors, which said, "We going to drop your daughter's rape case because we have no evidence." What was the victim's family going to do, raise hell and say no with all those guns! Sounds like coercion to me. What do you think? And this is not the first victims that were "persuaded" to take weak pleas and/or drop charges. Won't be the last. No evidence? What about the DNA, 3 witnesses, (never interviewed by police or prosecutor), A CONFESSION, assault on the victim's mother while 5 protection orders were in place, etc? Well, I have the evidence. Problem; elections are not until November 2010. But, I believe it will take way more than 53 votes for this prosecutor to save his job. The Mayor is not the only one that needs to go. This town needs new officials in EVERY department.

    -- Posted by Maverickpi on Sat, Mar 21, 2009, at 1:49 PM
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