State

Guilty plea in Road Dog case — if others follow

The one-time lawman accused of running a criminal enterprise out of a Denair motorcycle shop is ready to make a deal with prosecutors — if other defendants in the case do, too.

Attorneys for Robert C. Holloway filed a document Thursday in federal court in Fresno saying Holloway will plead guilty if the other defendants in the case take deals.

But such a deal isn't likely to happen, defense attorney Roger Vehrs said. Some defendants have worked in law enforcement and don't want felonies on their records, he said.

Holloway made the offer to show that he's willing to cooperate, Vehrs said.

He's hoping U.S. District Judge Oliver W. Wanger will take the goodwill gesture into account when he rules on a request to move Holloway out of a Fresno halfway house. Attorneys want Holloway put under electronic surveillance at his Turlock home instead.

Holloway was arrested with 11 other men in July 2008. He's charged with racketeering, trafficking in stolen vehicle parts, operating a chop shop out of Road Dog Cycle and using violence to collect debts.

His case is scheduled to go to trial in July.

Holloway was in custody at the Fresno County Jail until June 2009, when he was released to a halfway house. Since then, Holloway has paid $2,550 a month to live at the Turning Point halfway house, his attorneys say in court filings.

He's been a model resident, attorneys say, devoting himself to beautifying flower beds and making other improvements at the halfway house. Holloway recently had a stent placed in a clogged artery. He jogs about two miles a day on doctors' orders, Vehrs said.

Vehrs said Holloway believes he'd be proven innocent if the case went to trial, but at age 62, he's eager to go back to his wife and family.

"He just wants it over with," Vehrs said. "It's just been too much. How long are you going to sit there with people calling you a thief and a crook and a bum? He's not Nelson Mandela. He's not going to sit there for 20 years."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark E. Cullers, lead prosecutor on the case, said he couldn't comment.

If Holloway pleads guilty and is sentenced to prison, his time at the halfway house won't count as time served, Vehrs said.

Holloway was a Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy in the 1980s. He left the department and opened Road Dog Cycle with his son, Brent.

In 2001, Robert Holloway was acquitted of murder charges. He stood trial after he confronted and killed a career criminal who tried to rob his Denair shop in 1997.

Holloway's supporters say law enforcement has been after Holloway since then, pursuing him at any cost. Prosecutors say Holloway ran Road Dog as a haven for the Hells Angels and other outlaw motorcycle gangs.

The FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated Holloway for several years starting in the 1990s. Investigators taped thousands of calls on Holloway's cell, business and home phones.

When the FBI tapped Holloway's phones in 2007, agents told Wanger they expected to catch Holloway involved in money laundering, firearms violations, and manufacturing, importing and selling meth and marijuana. Holloway isn't charged with any of those crimes.

Three defendants have pleaded guilty. Remaining defendants include a retired California Highway Patrol officer, a retired corrections officer and a former Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy who was a court bailiff.

At a hearing Tuesday, defense attorneys and prosecutors will review confidential ATF files on Holloway, then decide which files can be released to Holloway's lawyers. The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. in Courtroom 3 at Fresno's federal courthouse.

Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at lalbrecht@modbee.com or 578-2378. Follow her at twitter.com/BeeReporter.

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