FLORENCE — A defendant in a 2016 Apache Junction double homicide testified in court against a co-defendant in the case before a jury.
Prosecutors questioned Clint Wendelschafer, 34, of Tempe all day Wednesday about what happened the night that Keith Long and Renae Gardner were killed in their home in an Apache Junction trailer park in 2016.
Wendelschafer accepted a plea agreement in December 2019 and pleaded guilty to hindering prosecution and assisting a street gang. He was originally charged with conspiring to commit first-degree murder and assisting a street gang. He has not been sentenced yet, but under the agreement he could be sentenced to two to 8.75 years in prison.
As part of the plea agreement, Wendelschafer agreed to testify against his co-defendants Demian Blu, 44, of Apache Junction and Nicholas Douglas, 45, of San Tan Valley. Wendelschafer’s plea agreement hinges on how truthful the court finds his testimony against Blu and Douglas. It is not dependent on if Douglas or Blu are found guilty.
On Wednesday, Wendelschafer described for the jury how Long was drummed out of the Loose Cannons motorcycle club in mid-May 2016 after club members found out that he allegedly had been arrested for a sex offense. At the time, Wendelschafer was a “prospect” in the club so he was not in the room when the club members decided to throw Long out of the club. A prospect is someone who wants to join a motorcycle club but must go through a probationary period before the club admits them.
He said he was tending bar in the club’s clubhouse and heard a commotion before Long exited the room where the meeting was being held and Long was told by several club members to get out of the clubhouse and never come back.
A few days later, prosecutors believe on May 25, Wendelschafer received a communication from his club sponsor, Douglas, telling Wendelschafer he was in town and wanted to hang out.
Wendelschafer explained that Douglas was a trucker and occasionally liked to hang out when he returned to the area.
Wendelschafer said he drove his motorcycle to an Apache Junction bar and met up with Douglas, who arrived in his pickup truck. They met two other members from the Loose Cannons motorcycle club at the bar. They later left the bar in Douglas’ truck and dropped off the other two members at their home in the same Apache Junction trailer park that Long and Gardner lived in. Wendelschafer testified that several members of the club lived in the trailer park.
As they were driving out of the trailer park, Wendelschafer said that Douglas spotted Long’s motorcycle at Long’s home. He said Douglas got upset, got out of the truck and pushed the motorcycle over while making some derogatory comments about Long.
Wendelschafer said he and Douglas then drove to a second bar in Douglas’ truck. Before entering the bar, Wendelschafer stowed his black and silver .40-caliber handgun under the driver’s seat of Douglas’ truck.
At the second bar, they ran into Blu. Wendelschafer told prosecutors that he remembers Blu and Douglas having a conversation about Long and the incident at the clubhouse when Long was kicked out of the club. Wendelschafer stated that Blu appeared to be twitchy, as if he had been taking drugs.
He remembered Blu saying something to the effect of “That was no good. Something needs to be done” about the incident involving Long.
When asked, Wendelschafer said Blu’s statement was odd because Blu wasn’t a full member of the club and even club members didn’t talk about club business outside of club meetings.
There was no further discussion about Long and after a while, Blu, Douglas and Wendelschafer left the bar in Douglas’ truck. They made a brief stop at a convenience store and Wendelschafer was told to sit in the truck while Blu and Douglas went into the store.
About 20 to 25 minutes later, Blu and Douglas got back into the truck and Wendelschafer drove the truck to another convenience store that was across the street from the trailer park where Long and Gardner lived.
Again Wendelschafer was told to stay with the truck and he testified that he watched Douglas and Blu walk across the street and into the trailer park. A few minutes after the two men walked into the trailer park, Wendelschafer said he heard a pop that sounded like a vehicle backfiring. Then he heard two more pops. Then he saw Douglas and Blu walk back across the street toward the truck.
Douglas then walked around to the back of the truck, while Blu got in the truck through the passenger-side door. Wendelschafer said he heard a thump in the back of the truck.
As Douglas got into the vehicle, Wendelschafer said he saw his empty gun holster in Douglas’ hand. At that moment, Wendelschafer said Blu said “That’s done. That’s what he got. That’s what was needed.”
Wendelschafer said Douglas looked like he had seen a ghost. He said Blu then told him that Douglas had stood outside of Long’s trailer while Blu went into the home with the gun and shot Long on the sofa. Blu also told Wendelschafer that he heard a noise at the back of the trailer and went to the back bedroom, where he shot twice. Blu then said he left the trailer and he and Douglas walked back across the street to Wendelschafer and the truck.
Wendelschafer said he understood that Blu was talking about Long and Gardner but he couldn’t believe what had happened was true. It didn’t truly hit him that Long and Gardner were dead until he saw the news the next morning.
The three men then decided to stay the night at Wendelschafer’s apartment, he said. The next morning, Douglas took Wendelschafer back to the first bar to pick up his motorcycle.
Wendelschafer testified that he never saw his gun again and that Douglas had made a comment at some point about buying him a new one and that they would talk later.
The trial will continue with additional testimony from Wendelschafer Thursday.