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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Six suspected motorcycle gang members arrested in the wake of a 2009 bar fight in Preston appear to be moving closer to a trial.

Court records show that six men charged for their roles in the beating and stabbing of a Norwich man at the Brookside Cafe have continued to reject undisclosed offers in their cases. The cases are now on the trial list with an undetermined start date.

Records also show that senior assistant state’s attorney Vincent J. Dooley upgraded charges last month, charging each of the men with first-degree assault. The six men, “members of an organization known as the Legion of Doom, did intentionally cause serious physical injury,” to victim Kevin Kennedy, Dooley wrote.  

Police arrived at the former Brookside Cafe on Route 2A at 1:38 a.m. June 28, 2009, to find large groups of people scattering in all directions. Witnesses told police the six men had beaten Kennedy, who was hospitalized with multiple injuries, including a knife wound to his leg.

The fight started when Kennedy bumped one of the gang members, police said.

Witnesses said as many as 20 gang members spread out in different areas of the bar’s porch and started chanting, “LOD,” and “860,” code for “hands-on fight,” before rushing Kennedy, police said.

Kennedy, who was dragged outside the bar by friends, was followed by a group and repeatedly kicked and punched in the head while he lay on the ground, police said. Some witnesses said members of the group yelled racial slurs.

Witnesses said the accused men were speaking in code and wearing black leather vests with red, white and gray Legion of Doom patches on the backs of their vests.

The following men are now charged with first-degree assault:

Carlos Aguinaga Jr., 28, formerly of Gales Ferry; Michael C. Cavaluzzi, 25, of Peekskill, N.Y.; James C. Condict, 28, of 113 Georgia St. in Groton; Steven A. Franchino, 27, of Middle Village, N.Y.; Ricky T. Gray, 44, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Justin Schwartz, 28, of Flushing, N.Y.

Gray faces the most severe charges. He faces two counts of first-degree assault, tampering with evidence, inciting a riot and inciting injury to a person.   

Attorneys for the men, many of whom have filed motions for separate trials, could not be reached Thursday for comment.

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