Former president of San Diego Chapter of Hells Angels sentenced

Stephen Sanders given 25-year prison term

SAN DIEGO - A 25-year prison sentence was handed down for the former president of the San Diego Chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, who admitted kidnapping two people for the benefit of his gang and assaulting partygoers in Pacific Beach, the District Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Stephen Sanders, 44, was sentenced Thursday after a judge refused his motion to withdraw his April guilty plea.

He has a July 2012 conviction involving a robbery and assault; and a March 2012 conviction for solicitation of murder for his role in trying to get witnesses and law enforcement investigators killed in connection with a pending kidnapping and torture case against him.

"In recent years, this defendant has engaged in a series of violent crimes against the citizens of San Diego," said District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "During the course of being prosecuted in a kidnapping and mayhem case, he conspired to murder those who were key parts of the case against him. Our office dismantled his plans to have witnesses and law enforcement officers killed, holding him accountable for his actions."

During Thursday's hearing, Sanders claimed he had discovered a new witness, an ex-fellow inmate at the county jail.

Judge Robert O'Neill denied the dismissal motion, finding that a witness "discovered" by Sanders after they spoke in a jail cell lacks credibility.

Sanders said he had felt pressured to plead guilty because he faced a lengthy sentence if convicted at trial.

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