One of three suspects charged in connection with a rival motorcycle club melee on a crowded Sparks casino dance floor during Street Vibrations pleaded not guilty Thursday to an indictment charging him with murder and conspiring to fight with his rivals. Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, 53, of San Francisco was arraigned in Washoe District Court before Judge Connie Steinheimer on an indictment filed Nov. 9 related to the Sept. 23 shooting death of Jeffrey Pettigrew at John Ascuaga's Nugget. Steinheimer entered the guilty pleas on behalf of Gonzalez, who stood silent. Gonzalez was arrested about a week after the shooting in San Francisco and returned to Reno on Monday. Three attorneys from the public defenders office represented him during Thursday's brief hearing. Asked by the judge Thursday if he understood what was going on, Gonzalez said, "Yeah, I guess." He said he was comfortable with his defense team so far and had no questions. Gonzalez is a member of the San Jose Vagos motorcycle club, and Pettigrew was president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels.
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