A Reno jury has found Ernesto Gonzalez guilty of murdering San Jose Hells Angels chapter president Jeffrey ‘Jethro' Pettigrew.
The five-man, seven-woman jury began deliberating shortly before noon on Wednesday inside Washoe District Court.
The jury found that Gonzalez was not defending another person when he shot and killed Pettigrew at John Ascuaga's Nugget nearly two years ago.
Jurors found him guilty of conspiracy to engage, challenged to fight resulting in death, carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in a structure, second degree murder with use of a deadly weapon, first degree murder with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to commit murder.
Former Vagos member Gary Rudnick testified that Gonzalez volunteered to kill Pettigrew as part of a hit. Gonzalez says there was no such plan and he shot Pettigrew to defend a fellow Vago who was being kicked by two Hells Angels that he says were holding guns.
In the end the jury believed Rudnick.
"Obviously we are very disappointed, very surprised. You have to respect the jury's verdict but we keep wondering what evidence this was based on. But frankly in theses types of cases you're fighting not only the charge but the image as well and there is a consequence of course, we'll deal with it and do what we can in the penalty phase," says Gonzalez's attorney David Houston.
He stood silently as the verdicts were read. The next day, he waived his right to be sentenced by a jury. That is scheduled for Thursday, October 3.
Gonzalez is the former leader of the Vagos motorcycle club in Nicaragua.
Defense lawyers maintained Gonzalez shot Pettigrew because he feared Pettigrew was kicking another Vagos member to death during the melee - while prosecutors said Pettigrew's death was planned because of the club's rivalry.
Thursday, March 6 2014 7:43 PM EST2014-03-07 00:43:15 GMT
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