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Rival gangs go to trial in fatal Reno casino shootout

Officers receive instruction on the east side of John Ascuaga’s Nugget after a shooting, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Sparks. One person has been killed and two others wounded in a shooting at a hotel-casino in Sparks that witnesses say involved members of rival motorcycle gangs, the Vagos and Hells Angels. (Associated Press)
Officers receive instruction on the east side of John Ascuaga’s Nugget after a shooting, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, in Sparks. One person has been killed and two others wounded in a shooting at a hotel-casino in Sparks that witnesses say involved members of rival motorcycle gangs, the Vagos and Hells Angels. (Associated Press)
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Updated: 7/21/2013 3:32 pm
RENO (AP) -- Nearly two years after a gun battle between motorcycle gangs turned a Nevada casino floor into a shooting gallery, two rival gang members go on trial on murder charges in Reno Monday in the death of a high-ranking Hells Angels officer.

Ernesto Gonzalez, president of the Vagos chapter in Nicaragua, is accused of killing Hells Angels' San Jose president Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew during the melee at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks in September 2011.

Making for a bit of unusual courtroom drama, Gonzalez will be sitting at the defense table with a rival Hells Angel who's pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and conspiracy charges.

Cesar Villagrana is accused of shooting a Vagos member in the leg but he says he only was defending himself and Pettigrew when gunfire erupted.
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