DA: Hells Angels member plotted revenge, leading to Antioch chase

MARTINEZ — Speaking to jurors Thursday, a prosecutor described a 2015 car chase through the streets of Antioch as the result of a revenge plot by a Hells Angels member who was sour over a missing car.

The defense attorney, meanwhile, accused prosecutors of overcharging his client, denied any such revenge plot existed, and said authorities were grossly misrepresenting the nature of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Steven Navarro, described by attorneys as a member of the Hells Angels Richmond chapter, has been charged with conspiracy to commit an assault with a firearm, possessing meth while armed, and other gun possession charges. Additionally, authorities filed a child abuse charge against Navarro, after finding a gun in a dresser inside the garage of his West Contra Costa home, where a young child sometimes stayed.

Prosecutor Chad Mahalich, during Thursday’s closing arguments, said Navarro was angry with a woman who had borrowed a car from Navarro and never returned it, leading Navarro to initiate a car chase after the woman through Antioch city streets.

Navarro’s attorney, Erick Guzman, conceded his client was angry about the car, but said the alleged plot to attack the woman was preposterous. He said Navarro’s gun was legal, that he was a passenger in the car, and he described the Hells Angels as a patriotic organization with “a strong connection to veterans.”

Mahalich said that in May, 2015 Navarro received a text message from a so-far uncharged co-conspirator saying the woman was at the Red Caboose, a popular Antioch eatery. As the woman was driving away from the restaurant, Navarro and another man drove up. She later told police she was afraid Navarro had a gun. She sped away and the car followed her, Mahalich said.

As luck would have it, the two cars sped past a pair of Antioch police captains, Diane Aguinaga and Leonard Orman, who were on their way back from lunch. They pursued the cars and the one carrying Navarro crashed. He was arrested, but the car’s other occupant got away, Mahalich said. A gun registered to Navarro was later found under a nearby parked car.

When he was arrested, Navarro was in possession of “Hells Angels memorabilia,” Mahalich said. He asked jurors to find Navarro guilty of gang enhancement charges, which allege Navarro committed the offenses to benefit the biker club.

“A lady owed a debt and didn’t pay,” Mahalich said. “It was disrespectful to Mr. Navarro and his status as a Hells Angel. He couldn’t let it go.”

 

Guzman mocked the notion that the entire Hells Angels Richmond chapter “cared about (Navarro’s) Subaru.”

“The Hells Angels are a motorcycle club, they’re not a gang,” Guzman said, adding that on one Hells Angels brochure introduced as evidence there was an ad for a local dentist office.

“I don’t really think there are gangster dentists out there who are associating with a group that’s that bad,” he said.

Guzman said the child abuse charge was an example of how prosecutors were out to get Navarro. He said the young child wasn’t staying at the home when authorities found the gun, that the gun was in a dresser that was blocked by a motorcycle, and that the child wasn’t allowed to be in the garage alone.

Mahalich, though, said the gun’s placement was an accident waiting to happen.

“Anyone who has kids knows that kids get into everything,” he said.

Jurors began deliberating Friday.

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