Tuesday's indictment of 17 members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club alleges
that the leaders of the Northwest Indiana chapter played a key part in the
gang's fight to keep rival Hells Angels out of the Chicago area.
The Gary Outlaws chapter is part of an international structure founded in
Chicago and now headquartered in Detroit under the presidency of Harry "Taco"
Its chief rivals are the Hells Angels and any cycle club aligned with the
Angels, including the local Invaders Motorcycle Club.
The Hells Angels' move into the Chicago area in 1994 was preceded and
followed by murders, bombings and shootings that federal authorities say was
all part of the turf war.
Several members of two Wisconsin chapters were indicted Tuesday for
conspiring in Indiana to kill members of the Invaders on June 26, 1994 - the
day after the shooting in Chicago of Outlaw Peter "Greased Lightning" Rogers.
No one was ever charged in that shooting, from which Rogers recovered.
Indiana chapter president Raymond L. "Shemp" Morgan Jr., 34, and former
president Randy M. "Mad" Yager, 40, are both charged with conspiring to kill
members of the Hells Angels during a clash at the Lancaster, N.Y., speedway in
Yager has been with the Outlaws since the chapter in Gary was formed in
1982. A Lew Wallace High School graduate, Yager has led the club since it was
based outside Michigan City on a farm known as "The Flats."
He was charged in 1984 with the attempted murder of Alex "Mick" Thomas, a
member of the rival Invaders Motorcycle Club, whose skull was smashed by a coat
rack inside a Hobart tavern during a confrontation.
Yager was also charged with arson for conspiring to burn the home of fellow
club member John Knight for insurance money to pay Knight's legal bills for a
murder charge. Knight later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.
In 1986, Yager pleaded guilty to battery on Thomas, and the arson charge was
dismissed. He got five years in prison.
Yager was charged with and convicted of a federal racketeering violation,
which netted him five years in a federal penitentiary in February 1989.
Morgan has been a member of the Outlaws since the early 1990s. A graduate of
Munster High School, he rose quickly to leadership.
In Illinois, on March 18, 1993, Morgan was arrested with Outlaw Alan Smick
and the daughter of former Harvey police chief Nick Graves in Riverdale. Morgan
and Smick were charged with unlawful use of a weapon when a gun was allegedly
found in their car - and police confiscated a human fetus found in a jar in the
trunk of the auto.
On Jan. 14, 1994, Morgan was charged with the November 1993 shooting of
Matthew Young inside the former Caper's Lounge, 2323 Summer St., Hammond,
during a fight.
On June 22, 1995, the attempted murder charge was dropped after the lone
eyewitness - a dancer at the club - was unable to be located.
The Outlaws seesaw between wanting to maintain their gangster image and
trying to clean up. Although their "creed," posted in clubhouses, maintains
that they want to look repulsive, they have in recent years tried to soften
their bad guy image.
Last year, the Gary chapter sponsored a dance at a Griffith lounge where the
benefits went to defray medical costs for a musician friend whose small
daughter had cancer.
Earlier this year, the club sponsored a dinner-dance to help raise money for
a tombstone of a 6-year-old Lake Station girl who was murdered and whose family
- related to one of the Outlaws - did not have enough money to buy a stone.