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Gilroy Hells Angels Member Pleads Not Guilty In Deadly Nevada Shootout

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Shooting at Sparks Nugget Casino

The head of the San Jose chapter of Hells Angels was shot at John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks, Nev. on September 23, 2011. (CBS)

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RENO, Nev. (CBS/AP) – A California member of the Hells Angels has pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder for his role in a September brawl at Nevada casino that erupted into a shootout that claimed the life of his San Jose chapter president.

Cesar Villagrana of Gilroy is accused of shooting two members of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang the night that his longtime friend Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew was shot to death on the floor of John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks.

Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer on Thursday tentatively assigned him the same Jan. 17 trial date she earlier set for the Vagos accused of killing Pettigrew—Ernesto Gonzalez of San Francisco. But Villagrana’s lawyer, Richard Schonfeld of Las Vegas, doesn’t expect a trial before the end of 2012.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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