Two versions of fight emerge at Arizona trial

KINGMAN — Different versions of a 2009 fight at a Bullhead City bar were given Wednesday morning in the opening day of a trial in Superior Court.

Four members of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club are charged with participating in a fight with several rival Vagos Motorcycle Club members at Lazy Harry’s Sunshine Saloon June 11, 2009.

Stephen Michael Helland, 63, of Golden Valley, Dale Leroy Hormuth, 51, of Kingman, Rudolfo Jon Martinez, 47, of Rimrock and Gerald Roy Smith, 50, also of Rimrock, are each charged with riot and assisting in a criminal street gang.

In his opening statement, Deputy Mohave County Attorney Bob Moon spoke of the rivalry between the Hells Angels and the Vagos, who he said are trying to infiltrate Arizona. The prosecutor said the four defendants, joined by three others, went to a series of bars before arriving at the Bullhead City bar where two members of the Vagos were sitting in a corner.

A fight ensured between one of the Hells Angels and one of the Vagos outside in the bar’s patio section. Moon argued that the bikers were a street gang dealing with violence and intimidation.

Helland’s attorney, Brad Rideout, said there is no evidence that his client was involved in the fight. The defense attorney said the fight was “much ado about nothing.” The fight broke up shortly after it started. There were few injuries, no broken glass, no broken pool cues, no overturned tables or blazing guns. No one was even arrested until about seven months later. Rideout also said the bikers were drinking mostly non-alcohol soda drinks.

Gang task force officers later raided the biker’s homes finding only T-shirts and posters and found no evidence of the fight. Rideout told the jury that the case is about the fight not about his client being a Hells Angel, of which he said there are only two members living in Mohave County.

The trial before Superior Court Judge Steven Conn is expected to take three to four weeks.

The trials for co-defendants Clifford Daniel Balentine, 56, of Bullhead City, and James Troy Snider, 47, of Kingman are currently set for May 1. A seventh defendant, George Edward Walters, 55, pleaded guilty in July 2011 to riot and assisting in a criminal street gang and was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

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