A man who refused to testify when prosecutors called him on the witness stand in the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club murder and racketeering trial last year was sentenced to time served in contempt of court on Tuesday.
Ronald Thompson was taken to jail straight from the witness box after flouting a judge’s order to answer a prosecutor’s questions during the November trial once the judge granted him immunity from prosecution.
Thompson, 57, was held in jail for about 29 days and released Nov. 22, just before Thanksgiving, according to prosecutors and jail records.
Thompson was sentenced on Tuesday after pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge. He must also pay a fine of $1,000.
Prosecutors say members of the Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club drove a teal-striped Suburban, which was used to kidnap disgraced club member Robert Huggins Jr. of Portland in 2015, to Thompson’s Auto Detailing shop on Southeast Foster Road after members beat and dumped Huggins’ body in a lot in Washington state.
Police obtained a warrant to seize and search the vehicle, and they found an “obvious attempt” to clean the car, finding the interior damp and an apparent smell of cleaning products, according to court records. Prosecutors identified Thompson as a member of the Gypsy Joker support club, the Road Brothers Northwest Motorcycle Club. Evidence of blood matching Huggins’ DNA profile was found in the Suburban, prosecutors say.
According to assistant U.S. prosecutors Leah Bolstad and Steven Mygrant, Thompson received a story from Mark Dencklau, president of the Portland chapter of Gypsy Joker, and other club members to tell police when they found blood in the Suburban. . Interviewed in 2015, Thompson told police the made-up story: that a friend named “Jerry Smith” borrowed the vehicle and hit a dog, and put the bloody dog in the vehicle, which needed to be cleaned up, according to prosecutors.
“He’s a guy who kind of sucked himself into a situation he didn’t really have much to do with,” defense attorney Alexander Hamalian told the judge.
Thompson made the “nasty decision” not to testify out of concern for his safety and that of his family, his lawyer said. Thompson has since lost his auto detailing business in the Portland area, his attorney said.
“I really think he wants to put this behind him,” Hamalian told U.S. District Judge Michael W. Mosman.
Thompson did not address the judge other than say “guilty” when asked how he wanted to plead to the sole charge. Mosman accepted the joint sentencing recommendation.
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