Men charged in Raleigh murder involving rival motorcycle gangs appear in court

Five men charged with murder in connection to the New Year’s Day shooting death of a 37-year-old man appeared in court Friday.


Men charged in Raleigh murder involving rival motorcycle gangs appear in court

Five men charged with murder in connection to the New Year’s Day shooting death of a 37-year-old man appeared in court Friday.Posted 8:32 p.m. Jan 5 — Updated 1:11 a.m. Today

RALEIGH, N.C. — Five men charged with murder in connection to the New Year’s Day shooting death of a 37-year-old man appeared in court Friday.

Martinus Starks, Vidaul Reed, Anthony Cheever, David Stephens and Tyler Grissom are each charged with murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy robbery with a dangerous weapon in the shooting death of Jonas Padilla, arrest warrants show.

All men face the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Due to a security risk and to keep the men separated, Grissom and Stephens appeared in court on Friday morning and were appointed capital defenders. They will remain in jail with no bond.

On Friday morning, Grissom asked to hire his own attorney. His next court date is set for Jan. 24.

A judge appointed Stephens a capital defender. His court date is set for Jan. 25.

Reed, Starks and Cheever appeared in court at 2 p.m. A judge appointed a capital defender for each of them.

Starks is due in court next on Jan. 23, Reed on Jan. 24 and Cheever on Jan. 26.

Starks, 41; Reed, 29; and Grissom, 29 each live in Fayetteville.

Cheever, 33, lives in Garner.

Stephens, 24, lives in Spring Lake.

Arrest warrants state Starks, Reed, Cheever, Stephens and Grissom did “willfully and feloniously did of malice aforethought to kill and murder Jonas Padilla.”

Also, the warrants state each man is accused of stealing a jacket valued at $200, using a handgun to shoot Padilla and conspiring “with four other defendants to commit felony of the robbery of dangerous weapon.”

Neighbors tell WRAL News they heard gunshots after a motorcycle crash around 5 p.m. on Jan. 1 on Bayberry Lane near Fawndale Drive. The Valley Estates neighborhood is just west of Lead Mine Road.

Investigators said a man was thrown from his motorcycle. He was transported to the hospital but died from his injuries. On Wednesday, Raleigh police confirmed they were investigating the motorcycle crash as a homicide.

Sources told WRAL News that Padilla was the victim. Padilla lived nearby, according to many neighbors and friends that WRAL News spoke with on Thursday.

WRAL News sources have confirmed rival biker gangs are part of the investigation surrounding Padilla’s death. A source tells WRAL News that Padilla was part of a Pagan Biker gang.

A rock marked with “I love you dad” sits outside a small memorial near Bayberry Lane in the Valley Estates neighborhood. There is also a freshly-painted sign that says, “lefty,” and the letters … “GFPD.”

On Thursday, WRAL News learned the acronym means “God forgives, Pagans don’t.”

Many of the men arrested are displaying the biker gang Red Devils on their motorcycle vests in pictures posted to their Facebook pages.

Many neighbors in the community said they heard five to six gunshots on Sunday and motorcycles driving away.

Sources also told WRAL News that the death is believed to have been a result of a motorcycle gang rivalry.

Neighbors said Raleigh police were on the scene after the incident for more than 12 hours collecting evidence and doorbell video.

The five suspects will be making their first appearance in court on Friday.

Not the first time biker gang violence has impacted the community

This isn’t the first time biker gang violence has spilled over in the Triangle area – nor is it the first time rivalry between the Pagans and the Red Devils has turned violent.

In July 2021, members of the gangs got into a fight leaving four men severely beaten and one shot in Clayton.

A 911 call from that incident provides insight into how the incident unfolded: “I’m at the Cleveland draft house, there’s a bunch of bikers up here and they’re shooting guns. I need the police here now.”

The Red Devils were also involved in a shoot out in Fayetteville in 2022, in which six people were shot, and three were killed on Owen Drive.

Police said the Red Devils were involved, alongside the Hells Angels, the Infamous Riders and La Familia.

So far, police haven’t publicly tied the shooting to clashes between rival motorcycle gangs, or made any connections to those other shootings and brawls.

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson provided the media with a statement after the arrests.

“Through the diligent efforts of our investigators and with the assistance of federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, the Raleigh Police Department apprehended and removed five dangerous criminals from the streets of our city,” Patterson said. “I am grateful for the multi-jurisdictional collaborative efforts of law enforcement across our state to identify and arrest these suspected offenders quickly and without incident. The RPD will continue pursuing offenders who terrorize and harm our communities with callous and relentless violence.”

Read the article at: WRAL