The former president of the Devil’s Army Motorcycle Club has been convicted of the March 2016 murder of Dillon Brown, a competitive mixed martial arts fighter.
Late Wednesday night, a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Richard “Ricky” Alexander guilty of the first-degree murder of Brown, who was shot in the head at the Devil’s Army clubhouse in Campbell River on March 11, 2016. With eight sheriffs standing by, Alexander, 68, was placed in handcuffs and led from the courtroom to begin serving the mandatory sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. A sentencing hearing will be held Thursday afternoon.
Nicole Herman, Brown’s former partner and mother of his two children, cried with relief as the verdict was read. On the other side of the courtroom, members of Alexander’s family appeared surprised. Two women put their heads in their hands and cried.
The 11-member jury, which has been sitting since Feb. 14, began deliberations around 8 p.m. on Monday. On Wednesday afternoon, they returned to court to tell the judge they were deadlocked.
“After exhaustive discussion and numerous votes, we as a jury have failed to reach a unanimous verdict. …We now ask your advice on how to proceed,” said the note handed to Justice Geoff Gaul.
He urged them to give it one more try. At 9 p.m. Wednesday night, the jury asked to sit for another hour. At 10:15 p.m., they announced they had reached a unanimous verdict.
Identity was the key issue during the trial. The verdict means the Crown proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Alexander was the person who killed Brown and that the murder was planned and deliberate. The defence had accused another full-patch member of the Devil’s Army, now a protected Crown witness, of the murder.
Although the public gallery was almost empty during the first week of the murder trial, interest grew. Alexander’s supporters and family members — including his son and his sister — attended the court proceedings in greater numbers. Earlier this week, an overflow courtroom was opened to allow people to watch the proceedings.
The trial has been held under heavy security. People entering the courtroom were required to pass through a metal detector and have their belongings searched. Half of the third floor was blocked off when protected witnesses testified. Undercover officers mixed with members of the public.
The defence did not call any witnesses.
The Crown theory was that Alexander killed Brown, a 30-year-old father and construction worker, to put an end to a lawsuit that would make Hells Angels and their puppet club, the Devil’s Army, look bad. Brown had been in a fight with three to five bikers at a Campbell River nightclub, the Voodoo Lounge, in November 2015. Brown held his own against the group of bikers but was injured and ended up in hospital.
He decided to sue the nightclub to pay for dental bills and lost wages because bouncers didn’t stop the fight or come to his assistance. He asked for, and received, a video of the fight that was captured on the nightclub’s surveillance system. Brown showed the video to several people and tried to recruit witnesses for his lawsuit. Some of his friends wanted nothing to do with the lawsuit when they found it involved the Hells Angels.
Phone records revealed that Alexander phoned Brown on Jan. 30, 2016, presumably to negotiate the lawsuit. The Crown believed Alexander was worried criminal charges against the bikers would arise out of the civil suit. The evidence presented at the trial revealed there were more phone calls and text messages between the two men.
The Crown believed that Alexander began stringing Brown along, promising him a payout of $10,000 for his injuries if he dropped the lawsuit. He asked Brown to meet him at the clubhouse on the afternoon of March 11.
Witness X, then a full-patch member of the Devil’s Army, testified that before Brown arrived, Alexander asked him to help get someone to a car. X said he thought that meant someone was coming to the clubhouse for drugs. X also testified that when Brown arrived, Alexander told him to close the clubhouse gate.
X went back inside the clubhouse and turned on the TV. Then he went to the beer cooler to grab something to drink. But on his way, he caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye, just behind the couch. He turned his head and realized it was a person. He thought the man had been punched out, but when he reached towards him he smelled gunpowder. X realized Brown had been killed.
Alexander has admitted that he drove Brown’s car with Brown’s body in the trunk to Sayward and abandoned the car near the Cable Bridge on Sayward Road. The jury watched videos of Alexander walking away from the bridge towards the Sayward Junction then walking south on the Island Highway on the day of the murder.
The Crown believed that when Brown entered the clubhouse Alexander was waiting with a loaded firearm. Brown’s body was discovered the next day.
Alexander was arrested in 2018. A mistrial was declared at his first trial in April 2021 during X’s testimony. The reasons for the mistrial are protected by a publication ban.