A Trumbull County murder trial that was set to begin Monday came to a close when the last of three men charged in connection with a deadly shootout between rival biker gangs in 2016 changed his plea to guilty.
In a last-minute decision on the very day his trial was scheduled to start, David Bailes, Jr., president of the biker gang Forever Two Wheelz (FTW), pleaded guilty to lesser charges, including two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of felonious assault.
“The original aggravated murders were amended to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. These are felonies of the first degree,” said Assistant Prosecutor Michael Burnett.
If convicted, he was looking at life in prison.
Bailes now faces a maximum of 50 years in prison. He is due back in court on Tuesday for sentencing.
Prosecutors say Bailes and his two co-defendants and fellow FTW members, James Gardner and Charles Dellapenna, III were involved in the deadly shootout at Shorty’s Place in June of 2016.
Bailes was shot, along with four others who belonged to rival biker group Brothers Regime. Two of those men, Jason Moore and Robert Marto, died. Andrew Claypool and Walter Hughes, also Brothers Regime members, were hospitalized with injuries following the shooting.
Both Gardner and Dellapenna had previously pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Bailes should his case have gone to trial.
Dellapenna pleaded guilty to complicity to involuntary manslaughter, complicity to felonious assault and carrying a concealed weapon on Dec. 5.
Gardner pleaded guilty to complicity to involuntary manslaughter and complicity felonious assault charges on June 20.
“Since this was the last case that was pending, those two will be set for sentencing relatively soon. I would assume no later than next week,” Burnett said.