Two Dead in Georgia Motorcycle Gang Shoot Out

May 29, 2023 Criminal Defense, Violent Crimes

The state of Florida and Federal law enforcement take gang-related crimes very seriously. Defendants who are accused of committing crimes for an organized gang can face enhanced penalties, steep fines, and extensive imprisonment if convicted.

A recent shoot out in Georgia resulted in the death of two motorcycle gang members, and 12 attempted murder charges. This page will provide the case details along with information on biker gangs and related charges.

What was the Incident?

On May 13th, 2023, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office in Georgia arrested 12 people for attempted murder and aggravated assault in relation to a gunfight between rival motorcycle gangs.

According to a news report, over 150 shots were fired at the Outcast Motorcycle Club’s chapter in Augusta. The chapter is directly next to an apartment complex and single-family homes, where police later found more than 150 empty shell casings a block away from the residential area.

Investigating officers believe the violence broke out due to a prior dispute that occurred in Florida, involving members of the Outcast and the Thug Riders.

Two people were killed and four were injured because of the rival gang shoot out. Keith Coates, 30, from Valdosta, Georgia and Germayne Farrell, 51, from Daytona Beach, Florida, both died from the violent shooting. The remaining three injured persons are being treated in a nearby hospital.

Out of the 12 people arrested by police, 11 came from out of state. One of the arrested persons was from Florida, and three others were from North Carolina.

The following is a statement from Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree:

“This was a coordinated attack by individuals who came from as far away as Florida. We’re talking about traveling three or four hours to come to Augusta, armed to engage in gun violence…With the amount of firepower and carnage we saw at the scene, this could have been a much more horrific event.”

Florida Definition and Penalties for Gang-Related Organizations

Under Florida Statute Section 874.03, a criminal gang is defined as a formal or informal group, association, or organization that consists of three or more persons who primarily engage in criminal or delinquent acts. Such groups have a common name, identifying signs, colors, symbols, or other assigning specifics.

Florida Statute Section 874.04 explains that a defendant who committed a crime with the purpose of benefiting, promoting, or furthering the interests of a criminal gang may have their penalties enhanced. The charge and penalties would be enhanced one degree more severe than the original offense calls for.

For instance, a defendant charged with a second-degree misdemeanor would instead face a first-degree misdemeanor. A defendant charged with a third-degree felony would instead be charged with a second-degree felony.

Federal Definition of a Criminal Gang

The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) define a criminal gang as the following:

  • An association with three or more individuals;
  • Such association has members who collectively identify themselves by adopting a group persona or identity, which they use to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, by employing one or more of the following:
    • Name
    • Slogan
    • Identifying sign/symbol
    • Tattoo or other physical marking
    • Style/color of hair, clothing, hand sign, or graffiti;
  • Purpose of creating such organization is to engage in criminal activity and which uses violence or intimidation to further its criminal objectives;
  • Members engage in juvenile delinquency or criminal activity with the intent to further or preserve the organization’s power or reputation; or
  • Organization possesses the following characteristics:
    • Employ rules for joining and remaining a member;
    • Members meet on recurring basis;
    • Organization provides physical protection to its members;
    • Organization seeks to exercise control over geographic location, region, or to defend its interests from rival groups; or
    • Organization has identifiable structure.

Under 18 U.S. Code Section 521, a person convicted under state or federal law of a juvenile delinquency act involving a controlled substance or violent felony in furtherance of a “criminal street gang” (including ongoing group, club, organization, or association) can face penalties for the specific offense, plus an enhancement of up to 10 years due to the affiliation to criminal gang.

Most Dangerous Biker Gangs

Organized motorcycle clubs have been around since the 1960’s in the U.S. According to the American Motorcyclist Association, 99 percent of motorcycle clubs are law-abiding citizens. However, the “one-percenters” are accused of causing law enforcement issues with controlled substances, murder, and theft.

Some of the most notorious and allegedly dangerous motorcycle gangs include the following:

  • Outlaws – Considered one of the world’s oldest motorcycle clubs with its foundation in 1936. They have over 1,700 members and are associated with drug smuggling at the U.S.-Canadian border, along with capital offenses across the nation. They are considered one of Hells Angels’ most prominent rivals.
  • Pagans – Became recognized as a criminal organization in the late 60s and 70s after John “Satan” Marron took over and is now considered one of the “Big Four” outlaw motorcycle clubs. They are known for their ties with the Italian Mafia. In 2010, 19 members were arrested in relation to a plot to kill the members of Hells Angels. The club has been associated with smuggling drugs and weapons deals.
  • The Bandidos – A massive motorcycle club in Texas with over 5,000 members. Also considered in the “Big Four” and accused of smuggling drugs across the U.S.-Mexican border. They were accused of being involved in the Waco gun battle.
  • Hells Angels – One of the “Big Four” motorcycle gangs with over 2,500 members in the U.S. and Canada. The organization has been associated with drug dealing, racketeering, and other criminal offenses across the nation. They have had long-standing feuds with both the Mongols and the Outlaws.
  • Warlocks – Active motorcycle group with over 500 members and 11 chapters in Florida. Known for assaults on rival leaders and police officers. Four members were arrested in 2014 in relation to a gun and drug bust from Canada.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Getting accused of gang-related activity can result in serious penalties from both State and Federal law. If convicted, you can face harsh prison sentences, expensive fines, or both. If you or a loved one has been accused of gang-related activity in Florida, contact a Florida defense attorney as soon as possible. The best way to protect your future is by working with an attorney who is knowledgeable and prepared to fight for your behalf.

Don Pumphrey and his team have years of experience representing those who have been accused of a crime. We understand the ins and outs of the law and will provide top-notch legal representation throughout your case. Call Pumphrey Law Firm today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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