Man charged in 2016 Shorty's Place shooting pleads to lesser charges

WARREN — One of the three men charged in a gun fight June 18, 2016, among two area motorcycle clubs at Shorty’s Place tavern in Warren Township, has pleaded guilty to reduced charges and has agreed to cooperate in the prosecution of other cases.

James Gardner, 48, of Iowa Avenue Northwest, appeared before Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge Andrew Logan on Tuesday, pleading guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter and several other charges, including two counts of complicity to felonious assault.

He could still get prison time, Judge Logan said.

He will be sentenced later.

In exchange, aggravated murder charges he previously faced will be dismissed.

The gun fight left two members of the Brothers Regime club dead and three other men wounded. Gardner and two other men charged are members of the Forever Two Wheelz motorcycle club.

Gardner was charged in November with aggravated murder and two counts of felonious assault. A superceding indictment in March charged him with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of felonious assault and single counts of obstructing justice and falsification.

But his attorney, David Rouzzo of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office, told court officials in April that Gardner “never shot anyone that day, and he wants the world to know it.” Gardner later took a lie-detector test hoping to prove his innocence. The results of the test have not been revealed.

Two fellow members of the Forever Two Wheelz Motorcycle Club — David H. Bailes Jr., 45, and Charles Dellapenna III, 47, both of Warren — are charged with two counts each of aggravated murder and two counts of felonious assault.

Gardner, Dellapenna and Bailes are accused of killing Brothers Regime members Jason Moore, 41, of Bristolville and Robert Marto, 54, of Cortland, and wounding two others, Andrew Claypool, 50, of Girard and Walter Hughes, 41, of Warren.

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