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Authorities allege a man found dead on a downtown sidewalk in March was the victim of one of 18 motorcycle gang members

Authorities allege a man found dead on a downtown sidewalk in March was the victim of one of 18 motorcycle gang members facing a federal indictment on charges ranging from racketeering to murder.

Anthony R. Robinson, 24, Chicago, is accused of killing Javell T. Thornton, 32, Chicago, early the morning of March 6, according to the indictment unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. A federal grand jury handed up the indictment June 9.

Robinson was indicted on two counts of murder in aid of racketeering activity, two counts of attempt to commit murder in aid of racketeering activity and one count of racketeering conspiracy. He is accused of fatally shooting a man two months before Thornton was killed, the indictment states.

Robinson was a member of Wheels of Soul Motorcycle Club, which was holding a regional meeting in Marion at 126 S. Main St. Now a vacant storefront, the site was a clubhouse for the Undenied Riders Motorcycle Club, which in fall 2010 joined Wheels of Soul, police Maj. Bill Collins said.

On March 6, police investigated the death of Thornton, whose body was found lying on the sidewalk in front of the clubhouse. Three other men were injured when a fight occurred during an after-hours party at the clubhouse.

Relatives of two of the victims, Daryl Collins, 30, and Michael Collins, 31, said the brothers intervened when other people inside the club were beating Devin Jones, 44. The fight spilled into the street, and guns were fired, they said.

The injured men were treated at Marion General Hospital, transferred to Grant Medical Center, and eventually discharged. The brothers, who live in Marion but are from Chicago, suffered gunshot and stab wounds.

Within 24 hours of beginning its investigation, the police department was put into contact with the U.S. Attorney's Office in St. Louis, Mo., which had an ongoing case involving Wheels of Soul. Federal investigators adopted the Marion police investigation.

Federal investigators worked in conjunction with police "because they try to shut down the whole organization rather than taking one member here, one member there. ... Because when you have crimes that span different states like that it's easier to put them together in a federal case than to try all these in different states," Collins said.

"Early on we're not able to say much because we're investigating this case, we're taking some flak like 'You're not doing anything about this homicide,'" he said. "We have to hold our cards close to our chest until the right time, and that certainly was the fact in this case."

Thornton died from one gunshot that went through his back into his heart, Collins said.

Two others also were shot, but ballistics have not identified those shots. The indictment alleges Robinson and Allan Hunter fired numerous shots at fleeing victims, striking some.

Police received a "huge" assist from the Marion Township Road Department when one of its workers March 23 found a gun in a sewer under James Way and contacted the Marion County Sheriff's Office, which contacted police, Collins said.

He said police knew people involved in the shooting had stayed in a hotel near James Way, and had the gun tested. He said investigators "can tell that the bullet that we retrieved from Javell Thornton's body was fired from that weapon."

No local charges have been filed, but some could be forthcoming against people other than Robinson, he said.

"It certainly was a big team effort on everybody's part," Collins said of the investigation. "... A lot of times you can't see what we're doing, but believe in the fact we are doing something."

Robinson waived his right to detention and removal hearings and was to be transferred from Chicago to St. Louis, where the indictment was issued, said Randall Sanborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago. Robinson, who appeared in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday, was being held in a federal detention facility in downtown Chicago pending transfer by U.S. marshals.

Some of the accusations in the federal indictment of the 18 club members are breathtaking; one member allegedly stabbed another person in the head during a fight at a Chicago motorcycle club, then shot another in the stomach. The indictment says gang members are required to carry weapons, mostly guns but also hammers, knives and others.

Federal authorities cite meetings in St. Louis in 2009 in which a Wheels of Soul member, Dominic Henley -- known within the gang as "Bishop" -- told others in the gang that a member in Gary, Ind., had been threatened. He instructed them to retaliate by robbing the rival gang members of their colors by "any means necessary."

Gang members raised money through robberies and by distributing drugs, especially crack, but also heroin, the indictment alleges. They are accused of plotting and carrying out several acts of violence including kidnapping, robbery and murder.

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