“Mouldy” Marvin Gilbert is a career Hells Angel with two dozen arrests during the 32 years he’s spent in the outlaw motorcycle club.
Police say he earned his “Filthy Few” Angels patch by stomping a man to death for the club in the 1970s.
Gilbert says his “best friend in the world” is Sonny Barger, founder and leader of the Hells Angels, based in Oakland, Calif. “Sonny” is tattooed on his right forearm.
Gilbert left Oakland last summer and became vice president of the Spokane chapter of the Hells Angels.
Police are wondering why.
Washington State Patrol detectives arrested Gilbert and five others during a raid at the Angels’ clubhouse on Jan. 5.
Authorities who seized four loaded guns, a half-pound of drugs and a stolen rental truck at the clubhouse suspect the veteran Hells Angel came here to help out the young Spokane chapter.
Now, Gilbert sits in the Spokane County Jail, accused of illegally possessing firearms and methamphetamine.
Another career Hells Angel member, Michael Lee “Coke” Cultis, also was among those arrested at the Spokane Angels’ clubhouse.
Cultis, 48, a convicted sex offender, was critically wounded when he was shot three times outside the Angels’ Sacramento clubhouse on Oct. 1, 1992. He recovered and moved to Spokane last summer.
The Hells Angels organization is expected to hire lawyers to represent the pair.
“I’m 53 years old and they say I’m a drug dealer?” Gilbert said in a jail interview last week. “Let’s get serious.”
Authorities are serious. They set his bond at $1 million and are seeking federal charges.
“That’s not bail, it’s a ransom,” the heavily tattooed inmate said.
Investigators believe Gilbert was sent here to straighten out the struggling Spokane chapter, chartered in 1994.
Many of its founding members, including Evan Barton and Kenneth Self, have been arrested for drugs and other crimes.
“You gotta expect that stuff with a new chapter,” Gilbert said philosophically.
He claimed the Angels didn’t send him to Spokane. “I wanted to move up here and raise my 7-year-old daughter in an area that has four seasons.”
But written minutes from a Hells Angels meeting in California last June show that club officers decided to “back the Spokane chapter 100 percent and start moving members there.
“Marvin and Fry are ready to go,” the minutes said.
“Fry,” believed to be Frederick Rice, reportedly moved to Spokane briefly last summer, but then returned to California and quit the club.
“He hasn’t been seen since,” one law enforcement official said.
Gilbert stayed in Spokane, and has been living in the clubhouse at 1818 E. Third.
His lengthy criminal record stretches back to 1959 when Gilbert, then 16, was arrested for stealing gasoline in Tehachapi, Calif.
He told police at the time his name was Stephen Gilbert Fisher, and that alias has been on his record ever since.
In last week’s interview, he said he was born in Pocatello, Idaho, and Marvin W. Gilbert is his real name.
Gilbert joined the Hells Angels in 1964, not long after Barger started the infamous club in the Bay Area.
His antics as a young member are chronicled in “The Hells Angels,” Hunter S. Thompson’s 1966 book about the group.
After joining the club, he was frequently arrested for everything from rape to assault.
In Thompson’s book, Gilbert and another Hells Angel, Terry the Tramp, are called “stinking hairy thugs” who were charged with raping 14- and 15-year-old girls. Both were acquitted.
Then on April 26, 1972, Gilbert was charged with second-degree murder for the stomping death of an Hells Angels associate.
“He was disrespecting some girl I was with, and he had it coming,” Gilbert said last week.
Police experts said the Filthy Few patch and its Nazi SS lightning bolts signify that Gilbert killed for the club.
“Naw, it doesn’t mean that at all,” Gilbert said with a grin. “It just means I was the first one at a party and the last one to leave.”
He served a five-year murder sentence at Folsom State Prison, where a fellow inmate was LSD guru Timothy Leary.
“Ah, he was just a little wimp of a guy, and I didn’t have much to do with him,” Gilbert recalled.
Since his arrest in Spokane, Gilbert has been in solitary confinement. “I’ve been in jail five days and they’ve had me in the hole ever since I got here, and I’ve only had one shower.”
He won’t talk about his family or Barger, but acknowledges his criminal past. “I don’t claim to be a good guy.”
When asked about the Hells Angels’ reputation for being mean, Gilbert’s bearded face broke into a grin.
“And we’ve worked hard to get that.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Color Photos
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Gilbert’s record “Mouldy” Marvin Gilbert’s criminal record: April 29, 1959, Tehachapi, Calif. - Arrested for petty theft of gasoline as a juvenile. April 24, 1961, Fremont, Calif. - Arrested for stealing a car. May 23, 1961, Hayward, Calif. - Arrested for petty theft; 20 days in jail suspended. Dec. 9, 1961, Hayward - Arrested for joy riding and traffic offenses; 45 days in jail. June 6, 1962, San Luis Obispo, Calif. - Arrested for resisting arrest and assault with a deadly weapon; $1,100 fine, 180 days in jail, two years probation. Aug. 19, 1963, Berkeley, Calif. - Arrested for second-degree burglary, reduced to trespassing; 90 days in jail. Aug. 20, 1963, Hayward - Arrested for attempted burglary, reduced to trespassing; 60 days in jail. Feb. 22, 1964, Hayward - Arrested for forgery; no disposition. Sept. 6, 1964, Salinas, Calif. - Arrested for rape; charge dismissed. Oct. 18, 1964, Oakland, Calif. - Arrested for auto theft; disposition unknown. Nov. 1, 1964, Hayward - Arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and theft; disposition unknown. Dec. 5, 1964, San Francisco - Arrested for accessory to a felony, conspiracy, contributing to delinquency of a minor, possession of drugs; all charges dismissed. June 8, 1965, Hayward - Arrested for failing to appear in court; $25 fine, five days in jail. April 10, 1966, San Luis Obispo - Arrested by police on charges not listed in criminal history file. April 11, 1966, Santa Rosa, Calif. - Arrested for rape; disposition unknown. May 26, 1967, French Camp, Calif. - Arrested for drunkenness and resisting arrest; disposition unknown. Oct. 6, 1967, Hayward - Arrested for two counts of battery; charges dismissed. May 6, 1968, Hayward - Arrested for possession of drugs and altering marks on firearms; disposition unknown. May 22, 1968, Sacramento - Arrested for battery on a peace officer; sentenced to six months to 10 years in jail. Paroled on Nov. 9, 1971. Jan. 31, 1972, Martinez, Calif. - Arrested for battery; disposition unknown. April 26, 1972, Oakland - Arrested for second-degree murder; sentenced to five years to life. Paroled on Feb. 4, 1977. Sept. 11, 1977, San Bernadino, Calif. - Arrested for auto theft and armed robbery; disposition unknown. Aug. 25, 1980, San Francisco - Arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm; disposition unknown. Nov. 18, 1988, Oakland - Arrested by police on a charge not listed in criminal history file. Dec. 1, 1988, location unknown - Arrested for possession of drugs; fined $50 and placed on two years probation. Jan. 5, 1995, Spokane - Arrested for possession of firearms and methamphetamine.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter