Judge, federal prosecutor are targets of murder-for-hire scheme, Putnam Pit learns
US Marshals lose copy of
By GEOFF DAVIDIAN
Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Joseph Trindal told Reuters that the breach of security caused by loss of the government document did not compromise the safety of any of the trial participants. An alternative plan was immediately adopted, and Trindal pronounced the original security arrangement outlined in the document "null and void," while dismissing it as “largely generic in nature.” One of 20 deputies brought in by the service to provide beefed up security may inadvertently have left a copy in a hotel lobby, where it was picked up by a reporter, Trindal said.
Trindal acknowledged there "has been some information that would be along the lines of rumor that some people might be interested in harming public officials."
The “some people” he referred to allegedly are associated with the defendants in the case known as United States of America v. Kevin P. “Spike” O’Neill, et al. O’Neill was a member and president of the Wisconsin chapter of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, the 56-page indictment says, and if the allegations giving rise to the case are true, the government had plenty to worry about when security was breached. The government considers O’Neill, whose friends call him “Spike,” and 16 others who go by the names like “Mad,” “Bad Bill,” “Manson,” and “Madman,” as part of “a sophisticated and dangerous organized crime group which has repeatedly resorted to bombings and murder to protect their ongoing criminal enterprise," said Tom Schneider, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
Of 17 indicted on June 10, 1997, 14 members
were arrested within hours.
"The Outlaws are more than just a motorcycle
club. They are a sophisticated and dangerous organized crime group which
has repeatedly resorted to bombings and murder to protect their ongoing
The indictment alleges that Outlaws were
involved in a series of violent acts, including six murders, aimed at the
Hell's Angels Motorcycle Club.
Among the offenses alleged in the indictment:
· On Nov. 13, 1990, a police officer was injured when O’Neill and defendant Randall E. “Madman” Miller blew up “buildings and personal property” worth more than $150 in Winnebago County, Ill.;
On Aug. 24, 1992, O’Neill, Miller and Raymond L. “Shemp” Morgan, Jr. “did commit an act involving [the] murder” of Donald “Domino” Wagner, in Racine County, Wis. Wagner was shot in the head several times at a remote parking lot. According to a Racine County Sheriff's report, marijuana was found in a search of Wagner's home and investigators learned he sold the drug to friends. In the first few days after Wagner's death, Racine County investigators began piecing together the case and its ties with criminal activities within local motorcycle clubs, according to reports.
· In January 1993, seven Outlaws traveled to La Crosse, Wis., “to kill members and associates of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club.”
· On April 7, 1993, Miller and James W. “Preacher” Schneider robbed and killed Morris Gauger in McHenry County, Ill. Gauger, 74, and his 70-year-old wife were bludgeoned and stabbed during a robbery at their farm outside Richmond, Ill. Schneider pleaded guilty.
Agents at the time called the indictment one of the largest ever in Wisconsin. The indictment is a liturgy of heinousness, alleging a seven-year string of crimes, including a violent turf battle with rival members of the Hell's Angels. The two groups are the largest motorcycle gangs in the country. Prosecutors paint the accused as sophisticated, cruel and businesslike in an interstate criminal enterprise that ranges from arson, murder, robbery, narcotics trafficking, interstate transportation of stolen vehicles and selling vehicle parts, to passing counterfeit United States currency.
According to the government, the bikers comprise a men-only organization much like a fraternity, with membership following “a controlled process, beginning with an associate or ‘hanger-on’ status, followed by a pledge or probationary period lasting approximately six months.”
Full members, or “patches,” as well as pledges, are expected to follow a written code. Violations of the code may result in fines, expulsion or physical violence, the government states.
According to the indictment, members pay monthly dues to the chapter, part of which is forwarded to the regional and national organizations. Funds are transferred among the organization’s entities as needed. The government argues, as part of its racketeering case, that the organization taxes members, or obliges them to contribute a portion of their profits from criminal activity, much like tithing, which might be expected from an organization that calls its regular meetings “church.”
According to the indictment, the enterprise
was lucrative enough that if prosecutors prove their case, Uncle Sam will
be riding high on a Tripoli brand motorcycle frame, Delkron brand engine
cases and miscellaneous parts, and could take all the Outlaws’ property
and interest in property, including land, buildings and fixtures in Janesville,
Milwaukee and La Crosse, Wis., Chicago and Joliet, Ill., and Gary, Ind.
The security operation plan mislaid at the Hyatt Hotel, where Marshals drafted for special duty are holed up, says “A known associate of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang had stated that he had arranged to have Assistant U.S. Attorney (Paul) Kanter, a named state judge and a named assistant district attorney killed for specifically stated dollar amounts."
Another informant told authorities that
one of the defendants knew Kanter's telephone number, the document said.
The Marshals' document warned the defendants may be getting help from a private investigator who was suspended for allegedly trying to smuggle contraband into jail, a deputy sheriff alleged to have passed on sensitive information to the gang, and a former U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent who has been hired by the gang.
Preliminary aspects of the trial in U.S. District Court have been held under tight security. Defense attorneys were checked for weapons and the courtroom was restricted to family members, news media and the trial participants themselves.
The Marshals Service is responsible for
providing protection for the federal
Among the witnesses expected to be called
by the government are former Outlaw members David Wolf and James Schneider,
who have already pleaded guilty to murder.
Jury selection has been completed in the trial, which was expected to last four months.
The copy of the government’s security plan had a “control number,” Trindal said, and an internal procedure would determine whether discipline would be appropriate.
Trindal said he could not put a dollar
amount on what it cost to develop a security plan for a trial like this,
but he acknowledged that taxpayers foot the bill. Ironically, the document
was lost on the day Americans pay their federal income tax.
Trindal said he could not put a dollar amount on what it cost to develop a security plan for a trial like this, but he acknowledged the taxpayers foot the bill. Ironically, the document was lost on the day Americans pay their federal income tax.
Meanwhile, O’Neill has lashed out at federal agents and former Outlaw Schneider, who pleaded guilty in the murder of the elderly Gaugers and is expected to testify against him.
In a letter posted on the Outlaws’ web
site, he writes:
“The Gauger murder carried out by James Schneider was the act of a merciless, sick, gutless coward that deserves whatever he gets from the judicial system. Murdering a defenseless 70-year-old woman is shameless by anyone's standards and certainly something NOT sanctioned or condoned by the American Outlaws Association (A.O.A.) or myself. I personally knew Mr. Gauger since I bought my first motorcycle in the mid 1970`s and became a loyal customer of his motorcycle parts and service.”
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