Hells Angels leader rejects plea deal, will head to trial

September 24, 2021 GMT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The man authorities say leads the Rhode Island chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club has turned down a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for five years, and will now take his chances at trial.

Joseph Lancia, 30, of Smithfield, told a judge on Thursday that he would rather go to trial, WPRI-TV reported.

He faces multiple criminal counts stemming from two separate incidents. In one case, he is charged with shooting at a truck in June 2019 being driven by a former Hells Angels prospect with whom he had a dispute. He is charged with felony assault and battery in that case.

He is also charged with knocking someone unconscious with a punch outside a Providence strip club in March 2020.

Prosecutors has initially offered a deal that came with eight years in prison, but after speaking with the judge, the sentence was lowered to five. Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney said if Lancia is found guilty at trial on all counts he faces 61 years behind bars.

Lancia, who is out on bail, refused to comment outside of court.