Verdict Reached in Biker Trial

A Washoe County jurytook just over five hours to reach a verdict in the trial of biker accused of murdering a rival motorcycle gang member. Ernesto Gonzalez appeared stunned as the first guilty verdict was read and then looked numb as the verdict of guilty was read for each of the seven counts he faced including first degree murder.

Earlier in the day, in closing arguments, prosecutors argued Gonzalez was part of a premeditated plan by the Vagos to kill Jethro Pettigrew, who was the President of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels. Lead prosecutor Karl Hall said the Vagos initiated the fight inside John Ascuaga's Nugget and stood to benefit by the death of Pettigrew.

The defense claimed Gonzalez was defending a fellow Vagos member from Pettigrew and one other member of the Hells Angels when he shot and killed Pettigrew. The defense's case was based almost soley on Gonzalez's testimony on his own behalf.

The next step for Gonzalez is sentencing and with a conviction of murder in the first degree he faces a maximum of life in prison without the possiblity of parole.