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President of the Rhode Island chapter of the Hells Angels rejects a plea deal from prosecutors

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – No deal.

Joseph Lancia, the president of the Rhode Island chapter of the Hells Angels, rejected a plea deal from prosecutors on Thursday that would have sent him to prison for five years.

Lancia, 30, of Smithfield, is facing nine criminal counts from two separate incidents.

The main case against him stems from a June 2019 incident when police said Lancia fired a gun at a truck driven by Richard Starnino – once a prospect to join the biker club – who was involved in an ongoing dispute with Lancia. Investigators have said video surveillance shows Lancia shooting at the truck as Starnino was driving by the Hells Angels Providence headquarters on Messer Street.

The investigation into the shooting led to a dramatic daytime raid by the R.I. State Police.

On Thursday, Lancia appeared before R.I. Superior Court Judge Kristen Rodgers for what’s called a Frye Hearing, where the court asks if a plea offer has been made and if the deal was communicated to the defendant.

At the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Joseph McBurney calculated the total potential time Lancia could face in prison at more than 61 years if he were found guilty of all nine counts at trial.

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