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.
Today is Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.