Las Vegas Sun

August 20, 2019

Currently: 102° — Complete forecast

Nevada jury hears openings in biker club racketeering trial

Updated Monday, Aug. 12, 2019 | 4:28 p.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A jury in Las Vegas heard two vastly different views in a federal racketeering trial that opened Monday for eight Vagos biker gang members stemming from a 2011 shootout that killed a rival Hells Angels leader in a Nevada casino.

Prosecutor John Han called it an orchestrated murder approved by Vagos international president Pastor Palafox.

Defense attorney Michael Kennedy countered that using a gun to stop two active shooters in a crowded Reno-area casino is not murder.

Representing Vagos member Ernesto Gonzalez, Kennedy told jurors that two Hells Angels members shot first and were "stomping" a man at gunpoint when Gonzalez shot Jeffrey Pettigrew dead.

Prosecutors call Pettigrew's killing part of a pattern of more than a decade of Vagos crimes in California, Arizona, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Nevada.