The president of the London Outlaws motorcycle club has walked away from a charge of organizing a hit on a member of the rival Hells Angels, The Free Press has learned.
The Crown withdrew the charge against Ryan Daigneault, 42, Thursday, one week before he was supposed to go to trial for counselling to commit murder.
Related firearm charges against co-accused Daniel Tranquair, 31, also were withdrawn.
The sudden release of Daigneault could change the already shifting biker landscape in Southwestern Ontario, with police warning recently of increased tensions between the two clubs.
The Hells Angels will not be pleased Daigneault was freed and will push for retribution, they say.
“The Hells Angels will lose credibility if nothing happens,” one longtime Outlaw biker said.
“This is a serious matter. There have been threats on both sides. This could be dangerous for the public, if it gets out of hand.”
Another insider said retribution was likely, but a full-out war could be avoided.
The two clubs might be more interested in making money off the lucrative drug trade than starting large-scale trouble, he said.
Peace might also come if the Hells Angels believe police charged an innocent man, a third biker source suggested.
But the Hells Angels already arranged an assault on Daigneault while he was in custody at Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre on the charge, several independent sources from inside and outside the jail, said.
London police confirmed at the time there was an incident, but said they received no request or complaint that would prompt an investigation.
Daigneault and Tranquair were charged in October. Tranquair was charged with possessing a restricted firearm and transferring a firearm.
Police did not say who the intended target or targets were. But sources and court documents indicated two local Hells Angels were potential targets.
According to court documents, Tranquair was released soon after the charges were laid.
But Daigneault, identified by sources as the president of the London Outlaws, remained in custody for several months, getting bail only recently.
Daigneault and Tranquair were scheduled for a two-day trial starting Aug 2.
Daigneault could not be reached for comment. But his partner, Stacey Scaman, provided a comment via Facebook messaging.
“Just happy that his whole ordeal is over and we can move on,” she said.
It was not immediately clear why the charges were withdrawn. A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General said he could not provide comment at this point.
The Outlaws have deep roots in London. But they struggled to keep membership up after the sweep of Hells Angels through Ontario in the early 2000s and the large police operation, called Project Retire, that put many Outlaws members behind bars in 2002.
Many biker experts had them gone for good from London.
But local Outlaws opened a new clubhouse and started a puppet club called the Filthy 15 last year.
Just two weeks ago, Outlaws turned up at the Friday the 13th ride in Port Dover for the first time in years, police said.
A few days before the event, OPP warned spectators that tensions between the two clubs were increasing.
Soon after, the OPP’s biker enforcement unit announced it was investigating two incidents involving threats and intimidation between Hells Angels and Outlaws members.
Fort Wayne motorcycle clubs, walkers remember April Tinsley
Angela Swinford remembers being in middle school and walking home from school with her sister Stacy and Stacy’s friend April Tinsley.
“We lived a block away from her,” said Swinford, who handed out candles Sunday evening outside Fairfield Elementary, where Tinsley attended.
After 8-year-old Tinsley was abducted a few blocks from her home and her body found days later in DeKalb County, 5-year-old Stacy didn’t understand what had happened to her friend.
Stacy Arms always remembered her friend, and Sunday night she joined several other motorcycle riders, including members of Tru Kingz and Warrior Breed Motorcycle Club, at her first event in memory of Tinsley.
“Today is a rough one,” Arms said, with memories of Tinsley coming back to her.
She and other attendees, including April’s mother, Janet Tinsley, held lighted candles and gathered near a newly donated bench and magnolia tree, which will have pink flowers, one of April’s favorite colors, in front of the school, 2825 Fairfield Ave.
Swinford played a song “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzy for Janet Tinsley:
“Have your fears and your pain gone away?
“‘Cause here on Earth it feels like everything good is missing since you left.
“And here on Earth everything’s different
“There’s an emptiness
“Oh, oh, oh, I hope you’re dancing in the sky
“I hope you’re singing in the angels’ choir.”
Afterward, Tinsley climbed onto the back of a motorcycle and led a procession to April’s Garden, a memorial set up at Hoagland and Masterson avenues, along the path that April would walk to school. April’s Garden is a place where many have left balloons, votive candles and much more now that a suspect has been arrested in connection with April’s death.
Sunday’s event took place exactly two weeks after John D. Miller, 59, of the 13700 block of Main Street in Grabill, was arrested and charged in Allen Superior Court with murder and Class A felony child molesting in connection in April Tinsley’s April 1, 1988, abduction and death. A not-guilty plea was entered for Miller during his July 19 initial court appearance. He has requested a public defender and will next appear in court Aug. 3 to select a trial date for the case.
Tinsley’s body was found three days after her abduction in a ditch in the 5000 block of DeKalb County Road 68 near Spencerville. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled.
DNA profiling and research by genetic genealogy expert CeCe Moore allegedly identified two brothers as potential suspects in the case, a probable cause affidavit filed in the case said. Police allegedly obtained DNA from items in Miller’s trash that proved a match with DNA reportedly left by Tinsley’s killer.
After being picked up for questioning by detectives, Miller allegedly confessed to abducting and sexually assaulting Tinsley and then choking her to death to prevent her from reporting him to police, the probable cause affidavit filed in the case said.
“I’m pressing for the electric chair,” Janet Tinsley said Sunday. She learned of the arrest when investigators came to the Tinsley family’s home.
“They said ‘We have good news.’ All of a sudden it was boom.”
If Miller is convicted, he would be sentenced according to penalties in effect in 1988, Allen Superior Judge John F. Surbeck has said. At that time, a person convicted of murder could receive a sentence of 30-60 years and a conviction of Class A felony child molesting could bring a sentence of 20-40 years, Surbeck has said.
A new photo of April Tinsley has been inserted into the stone memorial at April’s Garden, where, after a short prayer, attendees hugged Janet Tinsley and laid flowers on a bench there.