15 Hells Angels on trial for triple murder
31 January 2005, AMSTERDAM — The trial of 15 Hells Angels charged with the murder of three clubmates started in the heavily-secured Amsterdam-Osdorp court on Monday. The case against two defendants in relation to a fourth murder was adjourned.
31 January 2005
AMSTERDAM — The trial of 15 Hells Angels charged with the murder of three clubmates started in the heavily-secured Amsterdam-Osdorp court on Monday. The case against two defendants in relation to a fourth murder was adjourned.
The bodies of three members of the Hells Angels chapter the Nomads — including the club president — were found in a stream near the southern Dutch town of Echt in February 2004. The three bodies were riddled with bullets.
The victims are believed to have been murdered in the clubhouse after they allegedly stole 300kg of cocaine from a Colombian drugs gang. The public prosecutor claims the Nomads gang members jointly resolved to kill the three men.
The trial is being hindered because most of the suspects have refused to make statements to police. Authorities are unsure who fired the fatal shots and have therefore charged all 15 members of the club with the murder.
Police found traces of blood from the three victims during a search at the Nomads' clubhouse in Oirsbeek in the south of the country. It is alleged the suspects tried to cover up the murders by re-plastering walls, removing the floor and repainting the ceiling.
The public prosecutor is relying on forensic evidence, such as blood and DNA traces, to prove its case. There is also a Hells Angels witness, who is in fear of his life, news service NOS reported.
Two other suspects have been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Steven Chocolaad, who was found dead in May 2003. His body had been sliced up into several pieces and was found in the Julianakanaal in Limburg, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.
The court postponed the additional murder case after defence lawyers claimed the charge was not admissible. A separate hearing in chambers will now be heard in relation to that case.
The court had agreed with defence lawyers that they were regularly informed too late about developments in the investigation and were unable to attend the questioning by a judge of an important witness.
But the court rejected the applications from three lawyers to declare the prosecution's case over the triple murder to be not admissible.
In two cases, lawyers lodged objections because the charges were heavily based on statements not included in the case dossier. In response, the court ordered the statements to be handed over to defence lawyers.
And in the third objection, the defence lawyer claimed his client's signature had been forged. The court said it could not rule out the possibility and ordered the documents to be handed in.
Some 70 people attended the hearing on Monday, including the defendants, lawyers and security personnel.
Never before have so many Hells Angels been placed on trial for such serious offences in the Netherlands. The trial in Amsterdam South is expected to take at least two weeks and possibly up to a month.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Dutch news