PORTLAND — The former enforcer for the Outlaws in Maine pleaded guilty Tuesday to setting an ambush for a Hells Angels member outside that group’s clubhouse in Canaan in 2009, a near-fatal shooting that left the 63-year-old man’s right side paralyzed.

Michael “Madman” Pedini, 40, did not fire the bullet that severed Gary Watson’s carotid artery. And he was the key to the U.S. government’s prosecution of national Outlaws president Jack “Milwaukee Jack” Rosga, who was convicted of racketeering and conspiracy to commit violence.

But Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills said Pedini committed a “monstrous and violent” act, and had he not cooperated with federal authorities, she would have rejected the plea agreement that capped his state sentence at 15 years.

“This is just cold-blooded violence, the likes of which, fortunately, we don’t see here in Maine,” she said.

As his parents, wife and two young sons watched, Mills sentenced Pedini to the full 15 years on a charge of elevated aggravated assault.

He was also sentenced to five years and three months in a separate proceeding in federal court Tuesday for his part in the Outlaws racketeering conspiracy. The sentences will be served at the same time, as will an eight-year sentence for aggravated drug trafficking.

The drug charges stem from his sale of cocaine in the fall of 2009 out of Bob’s Inn in Waterville, which is within 1,000 feet of a drug-free zone.

The other Outlaws member who ambushed Watson, Thomas “Tomcat” Mayne, of Old Orchard Beach, was killed in a shootout with federal agents at his home June 15.

Pedini was at the heart of a massive racketeering case out of Virginia against the Outlaws hierarchy after undercover agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives infiltrated the group and uncovered extensive drug dealing as well as violence, most of it directed at the rival Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang.

After two Outlaws were attacked in Connecticut by Hell’s Angels in September 2009 and had their “colors” — vests featuring the club emblem — taken as trophies, Rosga ordered Pedini to retaliate by bringing him two vests or one body. A month later, Pedini and Mayne ambushed Watson as he was bringing sodas to a social gathering.

Pedini’s testimony at Rosga’s trial helped convict him. The group’s president is scheduled to be sentenced next month and could face up to 23 years in prison.

Pedini’s cooperation may have cut 10 years off his federal sentence but it has left him a wanted man, his lawyer, Andrews Campbell said.

“He has 3,000 Hell’s Angels out to kill him. He has 3,000 Outlaws out to kill him,” Campbell said. Campbell’s private investigator said there is a $25,000 contract on Pedini just in Maine.

Pedini is likely to serve his sentence under an alias and once he is released, will be placed in a witness protection program, Campbell said.

Campbell argued that his client deserved leniency for his cooperation, which included warning federal agents that Mayne would start shooting rather than be arrested.

Pedini tried to explain he had little choice in the attack.

“I was directly ordered to do something, and if I didn’t do it, I would have been killed,” he said.

But Assistant District Attorney James Mitchell said Pedini chose to shoot Watson simply for wearing a certain symbol, rather than try to fight someone and take their colors.

“Shooting an unarmed man in the back and leaving him for dead This was an assassination, plain and simple,” he said.

Pedini’s cooperation was already considered in recommending a 15-year sentence, he said.

Campbell said that with good time, Pedini might serve about 10 years in prison. He plans to appeal the sentence to the state Supreme Court.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:
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