Rod Sweeney's trial has begun

The Canadian Press is reporting that Winnipeg Hells Angel Rod Sweeney's trial has begun. He is accused of chasing down a guy and his kid on their bicycles while in his car and beating him with a metal pole.

Update: In 2011 Kevin Sylvester shot Hells Angel Rod Sweeney in the head as he sat in his tow truck with his young son beside him in retaliation for the disapearance and presumed murder of his brother Darwin Sylvester, who was president of the former Spartans motorcycle club. In 2001 Dale Sweeney, a member of the Angels and brother of Rod Sweeney was charged with attempted murder for shooting Kevin Sylvester.

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that in 1982 "the Los Brovos and the Spartans merged - the Spartans were led by Darwin Sylvester, Graham's younger brother. The reason for merger was to present a united gang the Hells Angels could take over. With the merger, the Spartans ceased to exist."

"The merger unravelled in late 1983 when two Los Brovos were arrested for the rape of 27-year-old woman. The crime made headlines after a deputy police chief was brought in to mediate between the bikers and the victim's angry brothers and father. A van the rape victim's sister owned was found rigged with dynamite. Sylvester and his fellow former Spartans wanted the accused kicked out of the merged gang, feeling they were bad for publicity and brought too much heat. The Los Brovos refused. Sylvester left the gang." Things got ugly after that.

However, "In June 1975, three Spartans gang members -- including its co-founder, Graham Sylvester -- were charged with the rape of a 16-year-old girl. They were later convicted."

"In late 1994, Stadnik flew to Winnipeg and demanded a truce between the two gangs. He set up a third motorcycle gang, the Red Liners, of independent bikers and known drug dealers. The thinking was that by throwing a third gang into the mix, the pot would really start to boil. Whoever rose to the top would become a Hells Angel.

In May 1996, longtime Los Brovos member David Boyko was murdered in Halifax while attending a Hells Angels event. It's believed Magnussen shot Boyko to death to move up the Hells Angels' ranks. In May 1998, Magnussen's bound, decomposed body was pulled out of the St. Lawrence Seaway. He had been beaten to death, wrapped in plastic and dumped in the seaway.

"Ten years later, the violence has renewed, and at the centre of it is the Hells Angels, which despite three high-profile police stings that led to numerous arrests of members and associates, have yet to suffer a knockout blow."