Website collects donations for biker gang leader charged in fatal shooting
Published Friday, August 3, 2012 7:29PM ADT
Last Updated Friday, August 3, 2012 7:49PM ADT
The former leader of a Saint John motorcycle club who pleaded guilty to manslaughter is getting support in an unusual way.
A new website has been created in an attempt to gather donations to help cover the legal costs of 53-year-old Matthew Foley,president of the Bacchus Motorcycle Club.
Foley pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of 31-year-old Michael Thomas Schimpf, whose body was found at the corner of Pitt and Leinster Streets the night of July 14.
Police say the shooting was not gang-related, but rather a dispute between Foley and Schimpf.
More than 20 comments have been posted on the website, many offering words of support. On the street, there was mixed reaction to the website and to Foley himself.
“I had no problems with him,” says one south end resident. “He wasn’t a threat, in my opinion anyway.”
“My neighbour says she misses them, that she liked having them around cause they kept the neighbourhood safe,” says resident Ron O’Donnell.
O’Donnell just moved to the south end and is now living across from the old Bacchus Clubhouse, which shut down last month due to deficiencies in the building. O’Donnell says hearing about the gang didn’t change his decision to live in the area.
“The bike clubs out west usually, if you mind your business and don’t bother them, then they won’t bother you. So I figured it was the same thing here,” he says.
A payment option link has been put on the homepage of the website so people can make donations.
"The legal costs are immediate and will be paid and if there is money left over it will be given to him after he has served his time, so that he does not find himself homeless and destitute upon his release,” says Morton Cooke who is involved with the site. “The site is not so much a fundraising effort, but it is a convenient platform for those who already want to donate."
Shawn Peterson works at a technology company in Saint John. He says online donations can be an effective way to raise money.
“When you can put a payment up on a web site and you’ve got a really nice story with pictures and you really understand what’s going on, I think you’re more likely at that one moment after reading the story to possibly make a donation,” says Peterson.
Foley is scheduled to return to court for sentencing on August 15. CTV News has yet to hear back about how much money the site has raised.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ashley Dunbar