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Killing of man followed dispute between Hells Angels and Devils Army groups, trial told

TC_208440_web_alexander.jpgRichard (Ricky) Alexander, left, outside the Victoria courthouse on Monday, April 19, 2021. Alexander is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of John Dillon Brown

Richard Ernest Alexander, former president of the Devils Army Motorcycle Club, pleaded not guilty Monday as his first-degree murder trial opened in B.C. Supreme Court.

He is accused of shooting 30-year-old Saanich man John Dillon Brown in the back of the head on March 11, 2016 in the Devils Army’s Campbell River clubhouse.

“His body was found the following day in the trunk of his Honda 75 kilometres north of Campbell River near Sayward, British Columbia,” said Crown prosecutor Lorne Phipps.

Alexander drove the Honda to the Sayward area and abandoned it there, Phipps said.

He described the Devils Army as a support club for the Hells Angels. Events leading to Brown’s death were set in motion in November 2015, when a visiting group of Hells Angels and a Devils Army member got into a fight with Brown at the Voodoo Lounge nightclub in Campbell River.

Phipps said Brown happened to be a competitive amateur mixed-martial arts fighter.

“He held his own against the group of bikers,” Phipps said. “The fight was captured by the Voodoo Lounge’s surveillance system.”

Brown suffered some injuries and decided to sue the nightclub.

“He tried to recruit people from around Campbell River to be witnesses in his lawsuit.”

Not long after the suit was filed, Alexander contacted him seeking to resolve the situation, Phipps said.

Alexander wanted to settle out of court.

Phipps said a final meeting between the two was organized for March 11, 2016 at the ­Devils Army clubhouse, where the shooting took place in the basement. Brown was expecting to pick up his money, Phipps said.

After the shooting, a bag was placed over Brown’s head and his body was placed in the trunk with the help of another person at the clubhouse.

That man is expected to testify that he went downstairs and saw Brown’s body, and that he could smell the gunpowder in the air. He then began to clean up the scene with Alexander, Phipps said.

Phipps said two women Brown was involved with at the time of his death will testify at the trial. He was living with one woman in the Victoria area. The other woman was living in Campbell River, and Brown would travel up-Island to see their son.

Both are aware of the fight and the lawsuit, Phipps said.

At the time Brown’s death, a friend described him as a down-to-earth and humble person who always had a smile when he was in the gym. He said he was very involved with his children.

Alexander was charged in October 2019. He was arrested after a joint investigation by B.C.’s anti-gang task force — the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit — and the Vancouver Island Integrated Major Crime Unit.

More than 200 police officers were involved in the effort.

That followed an Aug. 10, 2017 raid by about 60 officers on the Devils Army clubhouse in connection with Brown’s death.

The Devils Army, described by the Special Enforcement Unit as an outlaw group — came to Campbell River in 2009, with Alexander one of the founding members.