No bond for two suspects in GJ slaying

A Mesa County judge ordered two murder suspects held without bond Friday following their arrest in connection with a Wednesday night shooting that might have ties to an outlaw motorcycle gang.

Richard Alexander Byrd, 48, and Rufus Billups, 41, each face first-degree murder and felony menacing charges in the shooting that left 38-year-old Dion Nixon mortally wounded.

Both men, who were arrested Thursday morning, appeared Friday afternoon before Judge Craig Henderson for advisement and bond setting.

While police records detailing what prompted the attack have been sealed, Mesa County Prosecutor Dave Waite said Friday in court that Byrd and Billups are believed to have killed Nixon after firing “several guns, several times” into a residence in the 400 block of 28¼ Road in the James Park Trailer Court.

Byrd appeared accompanied by Public Defender Steve Colvin, who said he will address bond at a later court date and reserved the right to ask for a proof-evident hearing in the future. Waite said Byrd has 20 prior misdemeanor convictions and “a couple” of prior felonies.

Billups, dressed in the red garb associated with the high-risk area of the Mesa County Jail, appeared accompanied by Grand Junction attorney Matt Daymon, who asked for a low cash or surety bond. Billups has lived in Mesa County for 20 years, owns a house and has very little criminal history, Daymon said.

“Frankly, he is eligible for a personal-recognizance bond,” Daymon said, adding that because of the nature of the case he wouldn’t ask for that.

Henderson agreed to order both men held without bond.

Several people who Waite identified as family members of Nixon appeared for the hearing. One woman asked Henderson to order Byrd and Billups to remain in jail, and alluded to a possible connection between the case and motorcycle gang Sin City Disciples Motorcycle Club.

“Sin City Disciples, they were supposed to be my family. Women and kids first,” the woman said, sobbing loudly as she held onto a lectern in Henderson’s court. “My kids could’ve got shot. My kids could’ve got hurt.”

The woman — who didn’t elaborate on what connection might exist among the club and herself, Dixon, Byrd or Billups — told Henderson her 13-year-old daughter was among those in the trailer when Byrd and Billups allegedly opened fire.

“Dion Nixon was a good person, he didn’t need to die for them,” she said. “Dion Nixon doesn’t deserve this. He deserves justice.”

The Sin City Disciples Motorcycle Club is a notorious gang of outlaw bikers — referred to as “one percenters” — according to the Colorado Springs Gazette, which wrote extensively about the group during criminal proceedings following the murder of a 31-year-old man in 2012 at the group’s Colorado Springs clubhouse.

Nixon was shot in the head and abdomen, and was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital following the shooting that was reported at 9:14 p.m. He later died of his wounds.

Billups was arrested just before 6 a.m. Thursday in the 2900 block of Bunting Avenue without incident, the Grand Junction Police Department wrote in a press release. Byrd was arrested just after 7 a.m. in the 2700 block of B½ Road, also without incident.

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Gabrielle Porter
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