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Ballistics expert to testify in Hells Angels trial

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – The judge in the upcoming trial of two Hells Angels-affiliated bikers charged with an August 2006 gunfight ruled Friday that he will allow a state ballistics expert to testify.

Chad Wilson, 32, of Lynnwood, Wash., and John Midmore, 34, of Valparaiso, Ind., are to stand trial starting Nov. 3 on five counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of commission of a felony while armed for the shootout that injured several rival Outlaws.

A charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder will be handled separately.

Defense lawyers earlier asked that Frans Maritz, a firearms expert with the state crime lab, be prevented from testifying.

Prosecution and defense lawyers questioned him Friday. Then Judge Gene Paul Kean ruled he could testify and that jurors could weigh his qualifications for themselves.

Defense lawyers earlier asked for a trial delay because a federal complaint filed by the men hasn’t been resolved and could produce evidence supporting their claim they acted in self-defense because rival Outlaws members targeted them.

State prosecutors plan to argue that an ongoing feud between the two clubs was the motive for Wilson and Midmore to fire on the Outlaws, defense lawyers wrote in the complaint, which named 19 defendants, including various federal agencies, officials and the federal government.

In September, Kean refused to delay the trial and on Thursday a federal judge filed an order denying the defense’s request for a status hearing on the federal lawsuit, though the case will continue.

The trial has been delayed several times, including for an appeal to the Supreme Court that forced a change in judges.

Wilson is a member of the Dago Chapter of the Hells Angels motorcycle club in San Diego and Midmore is a prospect of the Haney Chapter of the Hells Angels in British Columbia, according to court documents.

The five Outlaws Motorcycle Club members who were shot and wounded are Thomas Hass, Al Mathews, Danny Neace, Claudia Wables and Susan Evans-Martin. Another woman, Crystal Schuster, suffered injuries unrelated to a gunshot. Their addresses were not included in court documents.

The shooting happened Aug. 8, 2006, at Legion Lake Resort in Custer State Park, where the Outlaws gathered for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 70 miles away.

Wilson and Midmore were arrested that evening after they told an off-duty park ranger their pickup had broken down and they needed a ride.

According to a federal court document, an Outlaws member who was not wounded said he returned fire at the man who shot at his group.

Defense lawyers have said they may call as many 153 witnesses, though some of the names are also on the list of more than 200 people submitted by prosecutors.