By Julie Manganis
---- — SALEM — The trial of six men said to be associated with the Hell’s Angels and an affiliate biker club called the Red Devils, set for next week, now appears uncertain, as a result of what a Salem Superior Court judge yesterday called a “procedural mess.”
The men, Nikolas Avelis, 54, of Gloucester; Marc Eliason, 35, of Danvers; Sean Barr, 48, of Lynn; George Brown, 49, of Salem; Brian Weymouth, 41, of Danvers; and Robert Defronzo, 45, of Saugus were originally charged in March with kidnapping, mayhem and extortion after a former associate went to authorities and said the group of men had smashed his hand with a ball-peen hammer and stole his motorcycle.
The alleged victim, who eventually agreed to wear a recording device that captured him turning over the title to his motorcycle to a member, said that he was “put out bad” from the group because he had failed to deliver a beating to a former member who had also been ejected from the club.
The six and their attorneys have pressed for a quick trial, because five of the defendants are being held on so-called “dangerousness” findings, which expire after 90 days.
Meanwhile, the lawyers had also filed motions to dismiss the charges based on insufficient evidence. Following a hearing, Judge John Lu dismissed the kidnapping counts, on procedural grounds.
But before Lu issued his decision, prosecutor A.J. Camelio went back to a grand jury and sought superseding indictments in the case, an attempt to remedy the issues with the original kidnapping indictments. He also added new charges of larceny and assault and battery.
During a hearing yesterday where the men were expected to be arraigned on the new, replacement charges, lawyers for all six objected on a variety of grounds.
After about a half-hour of discussion with the judge, the lawyers, along with Camelio, agreed to return to court tomorrow to attempt to sort out what Judge David Lowy suggested was a “procedural mess.”
It remains unclear whether the trial, set to start next week, will take place.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521 or firstname.lastname@example.org.