Motorcycle club expert testifies in Russ murder trial The Hells Angels, who have been around since 1948, are “absolutely one of the largest and most dominant” motorcycle clubs, according to Pearson.
ASHEBORO — Following testimony by a witness deemed an expert in organized motorcycle club activity, the state rested its case in the murder trial of Michael Isaac Russ Tuesday afternoon.
Russ, 40, of 4511 Colonial Circle, Trinity, is charged with murdering Larry Wayne Campbell, 27, of Denton, on Dec. 22, 2017.
Campbell, a father of three, was shot and killed in a parking lot outside BBQ Joe’s Country Cooking, 4873 N.C. 62, Trinity.
The trial did not resume until 2 p.m. Tuesday due to a juror needing to attend a funeral. When it did, the prosecution introduced Doug Pearson as its final witness.
Pearson, a police officer and ATF task force officer from Colorado, has testified as an expert witness on motorcycle clubs five times in other states, including trials that involved the Hells Angels.
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His focus in law enforcement since 2004 has centered around “outlaw” motorcycle clubs.
The Hells Angels, who have been around since 1948, are “absolutely one of the largest and most dominant” motorcycle clubs, according to Pearson.
Pearson spoke on the concept of a “one percenter,” which has been referenced a number of times throughout the trial.
The term was coined during a national motorcycle event that turned into a near-riot. A statement was released that “only one percent of these people are the ones causing this problem,” leading outlaw motorcycle clubs to associate themselves with the term “one percenter.”
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The title/patch for “one percenter” is worn on many outlaw motorcycle clubs’ vests, Pearson explained. Russ’ vest, which was presented to Pearson, had a one percenter diamond symbol.
Pearson added that the Iron Patriots — the motorcycle club the victim was associated with — was “absolutely not a one percent motorcycle club.”
He called the Iron Patriots a “mom and pop” type motorcycle club.
Pearson explored the concept of the bottom rocker, which has been brought up repeatedly throughout the trial.
Former Iron Patriots members who have testified said that the bottom rocker — which was changed from “Band of Brothers” to “North Carolina” — concerned them, as it could suggest the idea of “territories,” which could potentially anger other clubs — namely, the Hells Angels, of which Russ was a member.
Pearson expressed the same concern. When asked by the prosecution whether or not it might cause difficulties should a dominant club, such as the Hells Angels, dislike the non-dominant club, such as the Iron Patriots, using North Carolina in their bottom rocker, Pearson replied that “yes, it would absolutely cause difficulties.”
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During the defense’s questioning of Pearson, Manning continually pointed out that Pearson did not have experience in dealing with motorcycle clubs in North Carolina, due to the majority of his work being done on the west coast.
He was also asked whether or not he thought the Iron Patriots were trying to be a “dominant” club.
“They’re a small organization,” he said. “They’re not a one percent motorcycle club. They’re only in North Carolina in this area. They don’t have the structure or the manpower.”
Following the conclusion of the expert’s testimony, the state once again showed the video surveillance footage from BBQ Joe’s on the day of the shooting. This time, the camera zoomed in to show a closer look at the shooting.
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Once the state concluded its case, Judge Bradford Long called for court to break for the day and start fresh with the defendant’s case Thursday morning.
Defendant takes the stand
First to testify for the defense Thursday morning was Russ, wearing the same clothes — a red flannel shirt and blue jeans — he wore on the day he shot Campbell.
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