News and Press Releases

Snohomish County Man Convicted of 2001 Murder – Faces Mandatory Life Sentence

June 11, 2007

Three current or former members of the Washington State Chapter of the Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle club were found guilty of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) or Conspiracy to Commit RICO with multiple underlying criminal counts including murder, extortion and robbery. Defendant RODNEY ROLLNESS faces a mandatory life sentence for being found guilty of the murder of Michael Walsh on July 21, 2001.

Prosecutors praised the victims and witnesses who came forward and testified despite the atmosphere of threats and intimidation surrounding the Hells Angels, and praised the diligent work of law enforcement over many years to build the complex RICO case. “This case shows that the Department of Justice has the skill and dedication to pierce the culture of silence and intimidation these criminal groups use to try to hide their unlawful activities,” said United States Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan.

RICHARD ALLEN FABEL, a/k/a Smilin Rick, 49, of Spokane, is President of the Hells Angels Chapter. Today FABEL was found guilty of RICO and Conspiracy to Commit RICO. FABEL faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on September 17, 2007

RODNEY LEE ROLLNESS, 46, of Snohomish, Washington, a former Hells Angels member was convicted of multiple counts including RICO, VICAR (Violent Crime in aid of Racketeering), 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. ROLLNESS was found guilty for the racketeering act of murder in connection with the 2001 shooting death of Michael Walsh. ROLLNESS’ VICAR conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison when he is sentenced on September 19, 2007.

JOSHUA BINDER, 31, of North Bend, Washington, a former Hells Angels member was found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit RICO and Attempted Interference with Commerce through Threats and Violence. BINDER faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced on September 18, 2007.

The jury was not able to reach unanimous verdicts regarding RICKY JENKS, 29, of Spokane, Washington, who is charged with RICO and Conspiracy to Commit RICO. Prosecutors plan to retry JENKS, as well as other defendants, on the counts on which jurors could not reach a verdict. Among the counts where the jury could not reach a verdict was whether JOSHUA BINDER participated in the Walsh murder. Prosecutors plan to retry BINDER in connection with the murder.

An additional defendant, PAUL FOSTER, 50, a former associate of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, is charged with being an accessory after the fact for assisting ROLLNESS and BINDER in covering up the Walsh murder. FOSTER is scheduled for trial in November 2007.

The trial lasted approximately three months, and the jury deliberated 13 days before returning verdicts on numerous counts. Jurors found ROLLNESS not guilty on one count of witness tampering.

Today’s verdicts are the culmination of an extensive investigation by the Monroe Police Department, Washington State Patrol, Snohomish County Sheriff’s Cold Case Homicide Squad, the FBI and ATF. Key information was provided to the Monroe Police Department in early 2004 regarding the involvement of Hells Angels in trafficking stolen motorcycles and parts, and the use of violence and intimidation to further that trafficking. The Monroe Police Department, the Washington State Patrol, and the FBI launched a joint investigation into these activities.

The case was 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.

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