The U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle this week filed new murder conspiracy charges against state and West Coast Hells Angels leader Smilin' Rick Fabel ,>"/>
The U.S. Attorney's office in Seattle this week filed new murder conspiracy charges against state and West Coast Hells Angels leader Smilin' Rick Fabel, part of a strategic move to build a racketeering case against him. But his attorney says it's time the government put forth some evidence to support the charges. Actually, says Seattle attorney Peter Camiel, the feds' evidence so far suggests Fabel, 48, of Spokane, who runs the Angels' empire from Nebraska to California, is not guilty of the new claims.
He and other members of the Angels' Washington chapter, the Nomads, were first charged in February with murder and racketeering in the Northwest. Now the feds have added claims from the deadly 2002 Angels' battle with a rival gang, the Mongols, at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Laughlin, Nev. The federal case in Nevada, originally filed against 42 bikers including Fabel, is said to be falling apart. U.S. Attorney John McKay is now using that case to butress the Fabel indictment here. A supersceding indictment filed Tuesday claims Fabel and other local Angels aided and abetted the murder or attempted murder of Mongols as part of their local racketeering conspiracy. Fabel, who is alleged to have incited others to fight in Nevada, was already charged in connection with another murder, the 2001 Snohomish County killing of Michael Walsh, known as Santa. But attorney Camiel says Fabel, according to witnesses and video from the Harrah's melee, stayed outside the casino and was not directly involved. Camiel has asked the federal court here to order a bill of particulars, forcing the government to lay out any further evidence. "If the government's theory is that they intend to prove that Richard Fabel aided and abetted the conspiracy," states Camiel, "then they should state how he did that. If the government claims that Richard Fabel directly assaulted another in the fight at Laughlin, then they should state that. If the government's theory is that Richard Fabel solicited, directed or encouraged others to murder Mongols, then they should state that and indicate the evidence that supports that theory."
It's an iffy U.S. move - adding the Nevada charges to support the Washington indictment. Attempting to prove Fable's role in the Harrah's rolling riot could overwhelm a jury when Fabel and the others go to trial here, set for next January. As it is, evidence in the Nevada case already has to be hauled around in trucks, officials say.