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Monday, 10 January 2011
Steven "Gorilla" Mondevergine, the former outlaw biker boss, figured he'd be out on bail in a snap when he waived extradition from Gloucester County
Steven "Gorilla" Mondevergine, the former outlaw biker boss, figured he'd be out on bail in a snap when he waived extradition from Gloucester County and agreed to be taken to Philadelphia last month to face attempted-murder and assault charges.
At first, that is how it played out for the 55-year-old ex-leader of the Pagans Motorcycle Club.
But then, at a bail-modification hearing, an assistant district attorney started talking about a box of shotgun shells, a medieval jousting weapon, and a 7-inch knife found in the hulking ex-cop's South Jersey apartment.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Grady coupled that with the biker's alleged history of violence. And two days after he was released on $75,000 bail, Mondevergine was back in the slammer, this time with his bail set at a cool $1 million by a Common Pleas Court judge.
"There's just not a legitimate purpose to have any of this," Assistant District Attorney Brian Grady said last week in explaining the motion he filed two weeks ago that got Mondevergine's bail increased.
"This" was the contraband that Grady said authorities had confiscated Dec. 15 when they arrested Mondevergine at his apartment in Turnersville.
The box of shotgun shells presents an additional problem for Mondevergine because of his racketeering conviction. Convicted felons are prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition. That offense alone could carry a five-year prison sentence.
Grady also pointed to the other items found in the apartment as he argued that Mondevergine was a danger to society and that his original bail was exceedingly low.
Laying the items before Common Pleas Court Judge Frank Palumbo during the Dec. 21 hearing, Grady pointed to what authorities described as a "boot knife," a weapon with a 7-inch blade and a leather sheaf. The sheaf had two straps that, Grady said, could be wrapped around an individual's calf to hide the knife under a pant leg.
He also showed the judge a three-foot ax handle and a medieval weapon known as a flail found in the apartment. A flail is a spiked steel ball attached to a chain that is attached to a short steel pole.
Grady said there was no indication that Mondevergine was either a collector of medieval weaponry or a participant in Renaissance fairs.
It also could not be determined if the flail was from Mondevergine's days as a Pagan leader and underworld enforcer.
"There's just no legitimate reason to have any of this," Grady said for a second time.
Arnold Silverstein, Mondevergine's attorney, declined to comment after a preliminary hearing scheduled for Tuesday was postponed until Jan. 31.
Mondevergine, unable to post the higher bail, remains in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
He is charged with the shooting and stabbing of Timothy "Casual" Flood in a Pagans clubhouse in January 2008.
Flood, who took over the top spot in the biker gang after Mondevergine was sentenced to 27 months in prison in 2001, was shot once in a knee and stabbed in the back.
Authorities say they believe Mondevergine and several associates burst into the clubhouse, near Torresdale Avenue and Disston Street in Northeast Philadelphia. Mondevergine, they say, targeted Flood because Flood was part of a group within the biker gang that was trying to force Mondevergine to "give up his colors" and leave the club.
Flood, 47, who was recently convicted of a minor gambling charge linked to a broader investigation into Pagans operations up and down the East Coast, at first declined to provide information about the assault.
But sources say he may now be cooperating and helping the district attorney build the case against Mondevergine.
Besides the weapons and ammunition seized from Mondevergine's residence at the Country Place Apartments on Fries Mill Road, Grady introduced evidence about the Pagans' history of violence and Mondevergine's leadership in the group.
The allegations were similar to charges in a federal sentencing memo at the time of Mondevergine's 2001 conviction. These included references to the Pagans' involvement in drug dealing, extortion, and violence.
Mondevergine was described in the mid-1990s as a close associate and enforcer for then-mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino.
Mondevergine had been fired from the Philadelphia police force in 1982 after being accused of accepting a bribe to protect a gambling operation. He denied those charges, which were dropped.
In 1999, he was shot nine times while walking home from a South Philadelphia bar. Authorities attributed the shooting to a dispute between the Pagans and a street-corner gang.
Read more: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/local/nj/20110110_Seized_weaponry_keeps_ex-Pagans_leader_jailed_on__1_million_bail.html#ixzz1Adp9x1av
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