FORMER HELLS ANGEL SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RICO
Admits Involvement in Murder of Snohomish Man in 2001
JOSHUA BINDER, 32, of North Bend, Washington, a former Hells Angels member, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 years in prison and five years of supervised release for RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization), and Conspiracy to Commit RICO and Attempted Interference with Commerce through Threats and Violence. In his guilty plea entered July 23, 2007, BINDER admitted involvement in two racketeering acts: the murder of Michael Walsh in July 2001, and the assault and robbery of another man in December, 1999. At sentencing Chief U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik told him, “you joined a criminal organization who did terrible things to people who didn’t deserve it.”
BINDER was part of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, Washington Nomads Chapter. In his plea agreement, BINDER admitted that the club participated in a pattern of racketeering activity including two racketeering acts: the robbery of an Everett man, and the murder of Michael “Santa” Walsh. BINDER admitted that both men were targeted by the club because the club became aware they were holding themselves out as Hells Angels members. BINDER was present when Walsh was shot and killed at a party in Snohomish County. BINDER knew Walsh was going to be killed, and he was prepared to stop Walsh from escaping. BINDER kept other people from coming to the murder scene and he helped dispose of the body.
On June 11, 2007, BINDER was found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit RICO and Attempted Interference with Commerce through Threats and Violence, but the jury was unable to reach agreement on other counts. The plea agreement of July 23, 2007, resolved all the charges against BINDER and he agreed not to appeal any of his convictions, including the crimes for which he was convicted at trial.
Today in court, Assistant United States Attorney Tessa Gorman urged the fifteen year prison term saying “they hunted (Michael Walsh) down, and killed him in cold blood. They dumped his body like trash at the side of the road.” As a member of the Hells Angels, BINDER “preyed on the weak and the marginalized,” Gorman told the court.
Michael Walsh’s niece spoke at sentencing of the loss her family suffered, noting that she had seen no remorse or regret from BINDER. “You disrespected my family in court by laughing and winking (during the trial) as if it was all in fun,” Rachealle Walsh said.
Judge Lasnik recognized the suffering of the Walsh family. “The tragedy of these crimes is not something where they will just turn the page,” Judge Lasnik said. “That pain and those tears will be as fresh ten years from now, thirteen years from now, fifteen years from now, as they are today.”
Two criminal co-conspirators have already been sentenced. RICHARD ALLEN FABEL, a/k/a Smilin Rick, 49, of Spokane, President of the Hells Angels Chapter, was sentenced September 17, 2007 to seven and a half years in prison for RICO and Conspiracy to Commit RICO and three racketeering acts: Extortion, Mail Fraud and Trafficking a motorcycle. RODNEY LEE ROLLNESS, 46, of Snohomish, Washington, a former Hells Angels member, was sentenced to life in prison on September 19, 2007. ROLLNESS was convicted of multiple counts including RICO, VICAR (Violent Crime in aid of Racketeering) for the murder of Michael Walsh, Discharging a Firearm during and in relation to a Crime of Violence, Attempted Interference with Commerce by Threats and Violence and charges related to trafficking in stolen motorcycles.
The case against the current and former Hells Angels members were the result of an extensive investigation by the Monroe Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Cold Case Homicide Squad, the FBI and ATF.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mike Lang, Bruce Miyake and Tessa Gorman.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.