Federal jurors convict members of motorcycle gang in racketeering trial


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Posted Online: June 16, 2000, 12:00 am
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MILWAUKEE (AP) ---- A federal jury convicted eight members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club of racketeering conspiracy charges Thursday in a case that involved slayings, firebombing and drug offenses in five states, many related to gang turf wars.

Prosecutors said some of the crimes were committed as the Outlaws tried to protect their turf from rivals such as the Hell's Angels and their affiliates.

Seven of the men also were convicted of racketeering, four of distributing cocaine and two of transporting explosives.

A 51-page indictment listed 34 acts of racketeering by various Outlaws, including traveling to Indiana, New York, Minnesota and Illinois to kill members of rival clubs, commit arson and robbery.

Jurors deliberated for 40 hours after listening to three months of evidence and a week of closing arguments.

Other Outlaws sat in court Thursday in leather vests, scribbling notes as the verdicts were read.

Daniel D. Resheter, a defense attorney for Robert A. ``Clay'' Kruppstadt, vice president of the Outlaws' Wisconsin/Stateline chapter, shook his head after the verdicts were read.

Kruppstadt is ``one of the most exemplary clients I've ever represented,'' Resheter said in an interview.

Jurors found that Wisconsin/Stateline Chapter president Kevin ``Spike'' O'Neill participated in a dozen criminal acts, including the murder of Donald ``Domino'' Wagner in Racine County in August 1992 and bombings against Patrick Matter's truck in Minneapolis in December 1993 and in Lake County, Ill., in 1994 against Edward Murphy, who testified during the trial.

Prosecutors said the crimes began in 1990 as the Wisconsin/Stateline chapter, then known as the Booze Runners, fought to be recognized as part of the Outlaws' Chicago Region, which includes chapters in La Crosse, Janesville, Milwaukee, Chicago and Gary, Ind.

Since the investigation began, the war between the Outlaws and the Hell's Angels seems to have ended, U.S. Attorney Tom Schneider said.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms launched the investigation in the summer of 1994. More than 50 law enforcement agencies in New York, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana combined on the probe.

Investigators secretly recorded O'Neill describing the war with the Hell's Angels as a fight to protect the Outlaws' midwestern territory.

The bulk of the prosecutors' cases was based on O'Neill's taped recordings and former Outlaws turned prosecution witnesses.

Also convicted of racketeering conspiracy were: Chicago southside president Carl J. ``Jay'' Warneke, Gary chapter president Raymond L. ``Shemp'' Morgan, La Crosse chapter president Leslie John ``Jack'' Jensen, Chicago southside chapter vice president Richard ``Richie'' Mroch, and Wisconsin chapter members Randall ``Madman'' Miller and David ``Kid'' Kadlec.

The verdicts bring to 16 the number of Outlaws convicted in a six-year-investigation into the club's Midwestern chapter. Eight other Outlaws earlier were convicted in the case. Another Outlaw wanted in the investigation, Randy M. ``Mad'' Yager, is still a fugitive, Schneider said.

Defense attorneys already had filed motions asking the judge to acquit the defendants. Judge J.P. Stadtmueller will have until sentencing begins in October to decide that request.

Jensen's attorney, Charlie Giesen, said there was a lack of evidence against his client. He said he was disappointed Stadtmueller did not separate Jensen's case from the others.

He said allegations of drinking and drug use among the others reflected poorly on his client. Jensen, who will turn 63 Friday, doesn't drink or use drugs, Giesen said.

``He's abstinent,'' he said.
















 



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