Last week, federal prosecutors asserted that four vanished California Hells Angels were cremated in secret in a funeral home in Fresno.
The allegations emanating directly from Hollywood were contained in a sentencing memorandum that was submitted to the San Francisco division of the U.S. District Court on October 12. The filing by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office was initially documented by the Mercury News.
The assertions predominantly centre on the chapters of the Sonoma and Fresno of the Hell’s Angels. Three Hells Angels from Santa Rosa and Tulare, according to prosecutors, believed in 2014 that fellow member Joel Silva “was causing problems” for the chapter in Sonoma County and “needed to be eliminated.” Prosecutors claim that they orchestrated Silva’s visit to the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse, where he was fatally shot. Never has his remains been located.
Federal investigators suspect that Fresno Hells Angel Merl Frederick Hefferman, 54, was implicated in the coordination of a covert cremation as a consequence of the inquiry into Silva’s demise and subsequent concealment. According to the testimony of Levi Phipps, a manager at the Yost and Webb funeral home in Fresno, Hefferman requested keys to the establishment and expressed a “fascination with the crematory” and a desire to “make something disappear” prior to Silva’s passing.
“Common sense dictates that the only reason Hefferman desired that access was to ensure bodies vanished without a trace,” prosecutors wrote.
Hefferman instructed Phipps to report to the crematorium the morning following Silva’s disappearance; two men then arrived and “loaded Silva’s body into an incinerator,” according to Phipps’ testimony. Phone records, according to prosecutors, corroborate Phipps’ testimony.
Prosecutors wrote, “One of the most chilling aspects of this crime is that while Joel Silva was planning a birthday party for his 15-year-old daughter, Hefferman was arranging for his body to be cremated.”
Prosecutors also assert that three additional missing men might have been cremated at the Fresno facility. The subsequent individual to vanish, according to them, was Robbie Huff, who was last seen in 2015, and Art Carasis, a man from the Bay Area who vanished in July 2016. While the sentencing memo did not specify the identity of the fourth man, it is widely speculated that all three were associated with the Hells Angels. Hefferman has entered a guilty plea regarding obstruction of justice in the Silva case; however, no additional charges have been brought against him.
James Bustamante, Hefferman’s attorney, argued in his own filing dated October 13 that the government lacked sufficient evidence to file charges in the remaining three disappearances. “It is evident that the government did not consider Phipps credible enough to pursue further charges through the grand jury or to include in the conspiracy charge, despite having ample opportunities to do so,” Bustamante wrote.
He contended that Hefferman’s pristine criminal record to date and his allegedly abusive upbringing (he fled the house at the age of eight after being threatened with a gun by his stepfather) qualify him for a reduced sentence of thirty months. Hefferman also announced the recent passing of his 27-year-old son via his public Instagram page.
“Mr. Hefferman’s custody sentence will prevent him from providing care for his wife or offering solace as they continue to mourn the loss of their son,” Bustamante composed.
Conversely, the government is advocating for a duration exceeding seven years.
“Merl Hefferman orchestrated the unauthorized cremation of Joel Silva’s remains,” the defence attorney’s office stated in the sentencing memo. “This was intentional, premeditated behaviour; call detail records and witness statements indicate that Hefferman began cremation preparations prior to Silva’s murder.”
Silva’s mother described in a victim impact statement that was submitted to the court the adversity that their lives have endured since Silva’s passing. “Because we were unable to give Joel a proper burial, we are unable to pay him a visit.” “Every single Hell’s Angel is a coward,” she composed. “They murdered Joel for the sake of an egotist, and no one has the authority to take another’s life.”
The scheduled date for Hefferman’s sentencing is Thursday.
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