STURGIS, S.D. - Two Hells Angels Motorcycle Club members involved in a stabbing that left two people with injuries during the 2011 motorcycle were sentenced in a Sturgis court Thursday.
Mark Duclos of Fairbanks, Alaska, 48, was sentenced to six years in the state prison, with four years suspended. Duclos was charged with one count of aggravated assault, according to the Rapid City Journal (http://bit.ly/xCxI81).
Fifty-eight-year-old George Caruso of Shirley, Mass., was charged with one count of simple assault. He was sentenced to 360 days in the Meade County Jail. He will also be required to pay more than $4,000 in fines and restitution.
Police say the two were involved in a fight between members of the Hells Angels and Mongols motorcycle clubs. The fight sent two people to the hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Family and friends of Duclos and Caruso sent character letters to the state attorney's office in support of the men.
"All of the letters makes it appear that (Duclos) has a positive life back home and it appears he feels like he can behave like a criminal in Sturgis," Meade County State Attorney Kevin Krull said.
Since the incident, Duclos' behavior has seemed inconsistent, Krull said. Duclos has appeared in public using a wheelchair and other times able to walk, he added.
But his lawyer, Angela Colbath of Rapid City, said the character letters will "paint an accurate picture of who Mr. Duclos is."
Duclos has since apologized in court for his actions. Caruso has yet to publicly acknowledge the incident, though Fourth Circuit Judge Jerome A. Eckrich told Caruso he was the first to take action.
"We wouldn't be here if it weren't for you throwing the first sucker punch," Eckrich said. "I would not have just sent Mr. Duclos off to jail if it weren't for you. You're much more culpable than Mr. Duclos."