Informant on Stand in Motorcycle Gang Killing Case
A former Vagos motorcycle gang leader turned federal informant has taken the witness stand at a murder trial in Reno for a fellow gang member accused of killing a rival Hells Angel during a 2011 shootout at a Sparks casino.
Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer forbade media from photographing Jimmy Evanson, the ex-president of the Vagos Southern California Riverside chapter.
Ernesto Gonzalez is accused of killing Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew during Street Vibrations in 2011.
Much of today's testimony was directed toward Gary Rudnick, known as 'Jabbers'.
Evanson says Rudnick instigated the fight with Pettigrew at John Ascuaga's Nugget.
"Jabbers confronted him probably three or four times and kept confronting him and kept taunting him to the point that Pettigrew got a little perturbed because he wouldn't stop," Evanson said.
Prosecutors had biker vests known as "cuts" as evidence.
Some had patches representing white supremacy and sexual accomplishments.
Evanson says Pettigrew touched Rudnick's cut, which he took as a sign of disrespect.
"I don't think Pettigrew was trying to touch his cut," Evanson said. "I think what he was doing was trying to say 'Hey, buddy. Let's have a beer.'"
Evanson testified that other Vagos tried to keep the peace and Rudnick was ordered to stand down.
But the prosecution says Rudnick did not listen and provoked a brawl.
"All of a sudden, gunshots start going off," Evanson said. "It sounded like 20 or 30 rounds."
Sparks police officers also took the stand, including Sergeant Jeanmarie Walsh.
She responded to the Nugget, both before and after the shooting.
"Laying on the floor, in between two slot machines is a guy with a gunshot wound or what I thought was a gunshot wound," Walsh said.
That man was Pettrigrew, who died from his injuries.
The prosecution believes Gonzalez planned the shooting.
"Could that increase the defendant's status in the Vago Club if he arranged to kill the (Hells Angels) president and killed him?" Karl Hall, Chief Deputy District Attorney asked.
"Yes," Evanson said.
The defense argues that Gonzalez was defending another Vago.
"Any kind of planned meeting where the assassinating of Jethro Pettigrew was being planned by the Vagos?" David Houston, Gonzalez's Attorney asked. "No, I did not know nothing about any assassination." Evanson said.
"Does that sound a little ridiculous?" Houston asked. "Yes," Evanson said.
Evanson testified that he only counted about eight Hells Angels, who were outnumbered because the Vagos were in town for a mandatory national convention.
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