Biker group member pleads guilty to charges in Warren Twp. shoot-out

James Gardner pleaded guilty to complicity to involuntary manslaughter and complicity felonious assault charges

The man accused of being involved in a shoot-out between two biker groups in Warren Township pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault charges. James Gardner appeared in a Trumbull County courtroom on Tuesday, where he agreed to the plea. 


WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – The man involved in a shoot-out between two biker groups in Warren Township pleaded guilty to lesser charges.

James Gardner appeared in a Trumbull County courtroom on Tuesday, where he pleaded guilty to complicity to involuntary manslaughter, complicity to felonious assault and other charges.

Aggravated murder charges have been dropped in exchange for his truthful testimony in the cases of David Bailes, Jr. and Charles Dellapenna, III, who were also charged. 

“James Gardner entered into a plea agreement wherein he agreed to testify against the co-defendants in this case. In exchange for that, he received a deal to an amended indictment,” said Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Mike Burnett.

Police said Gardner is a member of the group called Forever Two Wheelz (FTW). He was accused of shooting and killing Robert Marto and Jason Moore and injuring Andrew Claypool and Walter Hughes. He was also accused of giving false statements to police who were investigating the shooting at Shorty’s Place last year.

Gardner faces up to 53 and a half years in prison, but he may get a lesser sentence if he cooperates.

“As long as he completes his end of the bargain, that he agrees to testify truthfully and cooperate fully, then the state will recommend between fifteen and twenty years as a sentence,” Burnett said. “If he does not fully cooperate with the state, we can take the option to withdraw the plea agreement. In which case, he faces aggravated murder charges and that carries a potential for a life sentence.”

Gardner’s wife, Giva Gardener, is also related to the other two defendants. She visits them all in the Trumbull County Jail each week.

“It is what I call it. Sunday for my son, Tuesday for my nephew, and Thursday for my husband,” Giva said.

Giva believes her family is being wrongly blamed for the shootout. She insists that her family members were trying to protect themselves.

“They have never been in trouble. All they do is take care of people,” Giva said.

Gardener’s bond was revoked while a pre-sentencing investigation is completed. He will be sentenced at a later date.

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