An Iraq War veteran-turned-motorcycle club enforcer has been convicted of manslaughter in a March slaying in Colorado Springs.
Christopher Anthony Mountjoy Jr., 31, of Fountain, was acquitted of first-degree murder and robbery. He was one of four people accused of first-degree murder in the March 3 death of Virgil Means. Prosecutors accused Mountjoy of firing the fatal bullet.
The verdict was announced Wednesday afternoon, after roughly a day of deliberation.
Means, also 31, was in the passenger seat of a Cadillac driving away from the club when a trio of shooters opened fire outside the Sin City Disciples Motorcycle Cub, 628 W. Vermijo St., in what prosecutors have characterized as an armed ambush. Means, who wasn’t armed, was violently tossed out of an after-hours party and was shot while returning to retrieve a missing wallet.
Mountjoy’s public defenders argued that Mountjoy was acting in self-defense, convinced that Means was returning for retaliation. They say he tried to aim high to scare the driver away.
Prosecutors countered that Mountjoy hit the car twice while quickly advancing on his targets on foot - suggesting he was shooting to kill.
Mountjoy is a Fort Carson soldier who twice deployed to Iraq in a combat role. He was re-classified as a cook after surviving a 2006 mortar blast in Iraq and turned to the motorcycle club for a sense of camaraderie, his attorneys say.
Portions of Vermijo Avenue had been barricaded near the entrance to the club — which a member described to Colorado Springs police as a “1-percenter” outlaw biker gang — and shooters crouched low behind a trash bin and slow-moving cars while directing gunfire at the vehicle carrying Means.