A member of a white supremacist gang who took part in a knife attack on two black men outside a Santa Rosa McDonald's was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison.
Aaron Welch, 27, of Clearlake received the punishment for the Aug. 26 attack on a Sonoma County correctional officer and his brother. The brother was injured.
Welch, who police said is vice president of the Lake County chapter of the Barbarian Brotherhood, faced the possibility of life in prison. He was charged with a hate crime enhancement.
He reached a plea bargain with prosecutors that avoided trial. His sentence was doubled because of a prior conviction.
The heavily tattooed man declined to speak in court Thursday. His lawyer said he regrets what happened and has taken responsibility.
His co-defendants in the case, Salvatore Bordessa, 33, of Windsor and Vanessa Michaels, 25, of Novato, remain in jail and are facing similar charges.
Bordessa, who police said is the treasurer of the Sonoma County chapter of the gang, is accused of brandishing a knife and yelling racial slurs. Michaels is charged with helping the defendants by grabbing a phone from a witness who was trying to call police.
Both could get life sentences if convicted. Bordessa has turned down a prosecution offer to serve 10 years. A trial date has not been set.
You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or firstname.lastname@example.org