MEDINA — The trial began Tuesday for two reputed members of the Cleveland chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang in an alleged Sept. 3 assault in Montville Township.
Justin Seliskar, 31, of 651 Sturbridge Drive, No. 20, is charged with complicity to commit felonious assault. Scott Stage, 46, of Parma, is charged with felonious assault. Both charges are second-degree felonies punishable by up to eight years in prison.
In his opening statements, county Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said the victim, who reported being assaulted in the parking lot of Rockne’s, 5121 Buehler’s Drive, was targeted because he previously approached the defendants about starting an independent motorcycle club in the area.
Salisbury said the defendants demanded money from the man to “ride their roads,” and when he didn’t pay up, Stage “sucker-punched” him.
“The reason we are here is because (the defendants) are Hells Angels,” Salisbury said. “The motive in this case is that these two are Hells Angels and (the victim) is not.”
He said the victim also was hit with some kind of object before a friend called 911. The man was taken to Medina Hospital with a head wound.
Stage’s attorney, David Sheldon, said Salisbury’s statement in court was the first time he heard about the alleged victim claiming the defendants wanted money from him.
He said the man gave four statements soon after the incident, two to police and two to the prosecutor’s office, and at no time mentioned the defendants tried to make him pay to ride his motorcycle in the area.
Sheldon said the man was actually the one who called the meeting between the defendants and none of the witnesses to the incident would be able to give an accurate depiction of a fight.
“None of them (saw) the genesis of my client’s actions,” Sheldon said.
Sheldon said Hells Angels should not be the focus of the trial and the alleged victim had a vendetta against the group.
Seliskar’s attorney, Dominic Vitantonio, said in his opening statements that in order for his client to be convicted of complicity to commit felonious assault, the prosecution would have to prove the defendants set up the meeting with the alleged victim and Seliskar’s mindset was the same as Stage’s at the time.
He also said the alleged victim was responsible for the meeting.
Vitantonio said he, too, had not heard about any monetary demands from his client to the alleged victim.
The jury trial before Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler is expected to wrap up this week.
Witnesses include employees of the restaurant, friends of the defendants and passers-by.
Stage and Seliskar were in the Medina County Jail on Tuesday night on $1 million bond and $250,000 bond, respectively.
Contact Jennifer Pignolet at (330) 721-4063 or email@example.com.