A former Hells Angel nicknamed "Thug" was sentenced this morning in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 years in prison for a variety...
A former Hells Angel nicknamed “Thug” was sentenced this morning in U.S. District Court in Seattle to 15 years in prison for a variety of crimes.
Joshua Binder, 32, of North Bend, the former sergeant-at-arms for the Washington Nomads chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club, was convicted this summer of racketeering, conspiracy and interfering with commerce by threats or violence.
Tessa Gorman, assistant U.S. attorney, called Binder “inhumane and depraved.” She said he served as the enforcer for the Hells Angels’ chapter.
The same jury that convicted Binder also deadlocked on murder charges in the 2001 death of Michael Walsh — killed because he was a Hells Angel poser — although Binder later admitted involvement in the killing as part of a plea deal.
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Binder faced between 13 and 15 years in prison, and prosecutors urged U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik to give him the maximum sentence.
In sentencing documents filed earlier this week, prosecutors pointed to evidence at trial that Binder was a brutal enforcer of the Hells Angel creed, a poorly educated and violent man who embraced his nickname, “Thug,” and who won prized patches from the outlaw motorcycle club declaring him a member of the “Thug Crew” and “Filthy Few.”
Binder, prosecutors say, was “no reluctant criminal,” and one witness testified that he had seen Binder kiss the ball-peen hammer he used to hurt people. Evidence showed he robbed, stole motorcycles and nearly beat an elderly man to death. Binder was present when Walsh — whose nickname was “Santa” — was shot to death at an Arlington-area party for claiming to be a Hells Angel, and Binder helped hide the body.
“Binder’s willingness to inflict homicidal violence was further acknowledged, and rewarded, when the Nomads made him their sergeant-at-arms,” the government said. “All of this attests to the honored role given to his vicious misdeeds, and the pride with which he carried himself in that assemblage of criminals.”
Rachealle Walsh, niece of the victim, addressed the court during Binder’s sentencing. “What you are is what you show,” she said. “He may have shown his family love, but he has shown my family nothing but disrespect, dishonor and pain.”
Defense attorney Gil Levy sought a 13-year term. Binder, Levy argued, has left the Hells Angels and his parents believed he was trying to turn his life around.