Jessica Prokop, Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
A Battle Ground man and former member of the Gypsy Joker Outlaw Motorcycle Club has pleaded guilty in connection with a 2015 kidnapping and killing of an ousted club member, according to The Oregonian.
Joseph Duane Folkerts, 62, pleaded guilty to conspiring to engage in racketeering in U.S. District Court of Oregon.
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His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 30; his recommended sentencing range is about 24 to 30 years.
Folkerts is the fourth defendant to plead guilty in the case. Racketeering, murder and kidnapping charges are pending against three others, who are scheduled for trial Sept. 29, The Oregonian reported last week.
The case stems from the slaying of Robert Lee Huggins, whose body was found July 1, 2015, dumped in a field north of Vancouver.
The 56-year-old Portland man, a former enforcer and treasurer for the Gypsy Jokers known as “Bagger Bobby,” was banned from the group in September 2014 after he stole money to buy heroin, a detective with the Portland Police Bureau said in 2016. Huggins was then “green lit” by the group, meaning members were allowed to “take him out” any time they saw him, the detective said.
Portland’s Gypsy Joker President Mark Leroy Dencklau ordered the attack on Huggins after he robbed Dencklau’s Woodburn, Ore., home and tied up his girlfriend earlier that month. Huggins was kidnapped on June 30, 2015, and was tortured and killed in Woodland before his body was dumped, according to authorities.
Folkerts wasn’t involved in Huggins’ initial abduction, prosecutors said, but he witnessed Huggins’ beating, helped restrain him during the assault and drove his body to be dumped, according to The Oregonian.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Mygrant said Folkerts , at the time of Huggins’ death, was a member of Road Brothers, a different motorcycle club. He was given a patch to join the Gypsy Jokers after the killing.
Folkerts’ lawyer said his client was forced to join the Gypsy Jokers after Huggins’ beating. Folkerts was “beaten out” of the club sometime in 2016, The Oregonian reported.
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