Davenport Guardian Angels Plead Guilty
Two members of the Davenport franchise of the Guardian Angels charged with breaking an Iraq War veteran’s arm have agreed to a plea deal that saves them a larger prison sentence.
52-year-old Thomas Buechel plead guilty to false imprisionment last Wednesday, reports The Quad-City Times. In return, prosecutors dropped a felony assault causing serious injury charge against him. Buechel was sentenced to one year probation for his guilty plea.
A second Angel, 31-year-old Stephen Cypret, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment last year. A felony assault charge is expected to be dropped at his sentencing, scheduled for March 30.
Davenport franchise leader James “Nitro” Steel has a plea hearing scheduled for March 30. He is charged with assault causing serious injury and false imprisonment.
As previously reported, the three were charged with breaking the arm of Iraq War veteran Levi Walter during the early-morning hours of April 25, 2010. Follow-up investigations into the franchise showed that required police background checks were either not performed or routinely ignored, and a history of violence done by the group was revealed.
At least one former member of the Guardian Angels stepped forward to condemn leader Steel as a “bully,” and many Davenport residents, including the city’s largest newspaper, called for the vigilante group to be taken off the streets.
Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa defended the franchise and its leader, saying Nitro has “street smarts” and has “led many patrols in extraordinarily dangerous situations.”