July 22, 2014

Medina
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Hells Angels’ biker gets 6 years for beating man from rival group

MEDINA — A member of Hells Angels was sentenced to six years in prison Monday for beating a man in a rival motorcycle gang.

The sentence for Scott Stage, 46, of Parma, did not include the repeat violent offender specification that could have added one to 10 years, but Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said Stage’s previous felony convictions for violent crimes were taken into account by Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler.

Scott Stage, 46, left, of Parma, listens to opening statements in his felonious assault trial in Medina County Common Pleas Court. Stage, a reputed member of Hells Angels, is represented by attorney David Sheldon, right. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

Scott Stage, 46, left, of Parma, listens to opening statements in his felonious assault trial in Medina County Common Pleas Court. Stage, a reputed member of Hells Angels, is represented by attorney David Sheldon, right. (GAZETTE FILE PHOTO)

“A six-year sentence is a long time to spend in prison,” Salisbury said. “I think he should have gotten more, but understand the court’s feeling about it, and it’s a fair sentence.”

The prosecution asked for 10 years.

In 1991, Stage pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Cuyahoga County. He also was convicted of felonious assault in 2004, according to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court records.

In March, a Medina County jury convicted Stage on felonious assault count.

The case derives from a Sept. 3, 2010, incident in which Stage and co-defendant Justin Seliskar, 31, of Medina, met with a member of the Coffin Cheaters motorcycle gang at Rockne’s in Montville Township. Stage punched the victim, Steven Keresztesi, and hit him in the head with an unknown object.

Seliskar was acquitted on a charge of complicity to commit felonious assault in March.

Stage’s attorney, David Sheldon, said the charge against his client should have been aggravated simple assault because although the head laceration sent Keresztesi Medina Hospital, he was released within hours.

“The degree of harm was minimal,” Sheldon said. “Unfortunately, he had prior felony convictions and the court took that into consideration when imposing the sentence.”

Salisbury said the incident “runs deeper” because the meeting was set up with the intent to harm Keresztesi.

“The jury didn’t buy it during the trial, and the judge didn’t buy it today in court,” Salisbury said.

Stage plans to appeal, Sheldon said.

“Scott’s got a wife and family he leaves behind,” Sheldon said. “You only see the bad in people, but I saw a lot of good in Scott. He’s a nice guy, and an accomplished musician. Unfortunately, he’s going to prison for six years.”

Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or lhlavinka@medina-gazette.com.