February 12 – Ventura
Notorious longtime member of Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club Thomas Heath, 64, was sentenced on February 8th to a term of 35 years to life in state prison pursuant to his conviction on multiple charges that include dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, threatening a witness, street terrorism, and promoting the felonious criminal conduct of the Hell’s Angels.
The severity of the sentence imposed by Ventura County Superior Court Judge David Hirsch is, according to statements made by Ventura County District Attorney Gregory Totten to the media following the imposition of the prison term, “a product of four prior violent felony convictions, including murder.”
This sentence will mark Heath’s second trip to state prison, the first of which came after a series of violent 1977 encounters with the Mongols, a rival motorcycle gang, which resulted in the bombing death of two people, including a 15-year-old boy. Heath, one of the two original charter members of the Ventura Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club, was convicted of two counts of second degree murder at his 1994 trial and sentenced to seven years. He was, at the time of that sentencing, already in prison on an additional conviction for assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence charges, and threats against a witness.
The current charges and conviction also had a serious episode of domestic violence as their source. Following a dispute with his female housemate, pursuant to which she summoned police to report Heath had threatened her life and that of her son, responding officers, according to Totten, “quoted Heath as saying that he doesn’t threaten people, he simply kills them.”
Immediately prior to Judge Hirsch’s imposition of sentencing, attorney Adam Pearlman, acting as Heath’s Public Defender, suggested that the court consider his client’s age when determining a prison term. That argument was countered, Totten reported, by Assistant District Attorney Tate McCallister’s response that the court “should not engage in arithmetic to gauge life expectancy” as a sentencing protocol, a suggestion that the court apparently followed.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County District Attorney, Hells Angels blog
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