Friday, December 19, 2008

The Death of B.J. Mough

This is what happened one Monday evening in Athens, Georgia:

Two teenage girls were in a Nissan Sentra, waiting at a traffic signal to exit the Target parking lot. A guy on a 2007 Kawasaki 250 Ninja shares the lane with them as the light turns green, cutting in between the girls and a van as they turned left on to the main arterial back to their house. 

We don’t know how they reacted—not really, anyway. According to the older sister’s testimony, they were annoyed at his rude behavior and may have made a rude gesture in return. He sped away down the road, but they passed him. He passed them back, passing in the suicide lane and then cutting them off as he sped away. At some point the older sister called her mom…there’s a crazy guy on a motorcycle following us! 

He won’t leave us alone! What do we do? The mom tells her husband: the girls are in trouble, go get your gun.

 A few miles later, as they reach the intersection where they turn off the main road to get back to their house, they see the guy on his motorcycle, waiting to turn left at the intersection where they were turning right. They again flipped him the ol’ bird as they turned right, but this time the bluff was called: the scary biker, clad in a full-face helmet and space-age moto-armor turned his bars, gunned his motor and headed after them. He charged up the road, pulling alongside the

 girl’s car in the opposite lane. Maniac!

The girl’s panic reached a head when he raised his arm in a threatening gesture. The older sister cut a hard left turn, cutting the motorcyclist off so violently his bike scraped the driver’s side of the Sentra before he careened out-of-control onto a lawn as the car sped off towards home. They screeched through the neighborhood and made 

a hard left into their driveway and bolted to their rooms. Meanwhile, dad had his .40-caliber handgun locked and loaded and was waiting at the end of the driveway. The Ninja came growling down the street, turned around, came back.

Photo: Athens Banner-Herald

 Witnesses—the girls, the wife and the neighbors—heard two gunshots, then a third. When the sheriffs and EMTs got to the scene, they found the motorcyclist—21-year-old Bryan “B.J.” Mough (say “mao”)—dying from a gunshot wound and dad telling them he fired in self defense.

 The dad, 46-year-old Richard Gear, was charged with murder. The case went to trial in November, covered in meticulous detail by the Athens Banner-Herald. 

We learned a lot of things: Gear had probably waved his gun and fired “warning shots” at people in front of his house in at least one prior incident. Mough’s Ninja wasn’t headed towards Gear when he fired; he was just riding up and down the street near the Gear house. The eldest Gear sister, Samantha, gave surprisingly candid testimony that makes you wonder why she felt so threatened. And if she did, why did she call her trigger-happy parents instead of 911?

 B.J. Mough is the guy who could really answer our questions, as Gear and his family probably lied their asses off in court. Did B.J. road-rage? Or were the girls road-raging on him, goading him into chasing them home to gun-crazed dad? Or did he just want their insurance info for banging up his bike? Was he charging Richard Gear on his 249cc death-missile? Or did he not even see Gear as he stood in his tree-shrouded driveway? 

Thanks to the miracle of the system of tubes we call the Internets, you can follow the whole drama, and it makes you realize how anonymity is dying along with newspapers, AM radio and deep-frying. B.J.’s pre-death discourse with his motorcycle buddies is online for all to see (at, videotaped testimony from the trial is on the Athens Banner-Herald’s website, and you can get on the MSN Live website and see, with detailed aerial photography, the entire route of the chase and eventual shooting.

 Nobody, including myself, really understands why riding motorcycles is so special and liberating. B.J. might have an idea, and you might also. But I know one family of Georgia suburbanites whose misconception of motorcycles, motorcycling and motorcyclists (mixed with a healthy dose of good ol’ American shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later stupidity) contributed to the death of one of our own.

Go here to check out the Athens Banner-Herald's outstanding coverage of the trial.

BJ's introductory post to Bloke's Sportbike Forum:

Hey guys figured this be the best place to start ^^.

The name is bryan and on the net i am know as Fenix. I only started riding a biike about 3 months ago and never even riden a dirt bike before then. I had a desire to learn a skil and BAM , just like with my high learning curve with Computers i learned to the most extent of what i think it is to ride a bike. I hope to learn a hell of alot more and meet some new freinds along the way for the ride. 

Some quick info about me:

I am a computer guy, i build , repair and fix networks. I am also a Anime Freak, so if im not riding my bike or on my computer doing who knows what 
 , ill be watching Anime or attending a local convention as one of my Favorite characters. I am a Japaneese enthusiast so i like all things of Eastern Culture and my room is lined with swords ^^.(l love shinny things) 

Other then im a crazy person as my parents would say im the only one in the family who has enough balls to ride a motorcycle and the only one in the family to do so in the past 50 years or so. 

Hope to get to know the locals and everyone else in between. ^^ 

nice to meet ya 

Fenix Airilius Solen (if you figure out were i got the middle name from your a Genius )

Here's B.J.'s forum signiture (cribbed from a video game's theme song lyrics, but moving nonetheless): 

"What was the start of all this?

When did the cogs of fate begin to turn?

Perhaps it is impossible to grasp that answer now,
From deep within the flow of time...
But, for a certainty, back then,
We loved so many, yet hated so much,
We hurt others and were hurt ourselves...
Yet even then, we ran like the wind,
Whilst our laughter echoed,
Under cerulean skies..." 

Ride hard , live long, injoy your Freedom , and never look back


Kevin said...

Just followed up on this case and Richard Gear was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

Gabe said...

Wow...that's amazing. Thanks so much for following up.