(NationalUSNews.com) — 54-year-old Merl Hefferman is the former leader of the Fresno, California, chapter of Hell’s Angels and is noted for his charity work in the community. He has worked on the toy and bicycle charity events sponsored by their chapter. He has now been sentenced to four years in prison for obstruction of justice.
Hefferman is one of 11 members of Hell’s Angels to be named in a racketeering and conspiracy indictment in 2018. He became the fifth defendant to be sentenced so far after his hearing on October 20. Hefferman used his connection at the Yost & Webb Funeral Home to arrange illegal cremations to dispose of the bodies of other Hell’s Angels in order to hide the murders. Levi Phipps, the crematory manager at the funeral home, testified in the trials. Cell phone records were used to verify Phipp’s story of intimidation and coercion. According to Phipps, four Hell’s Angels bodies were disposed of in this manner.
Joel Silva went missing in July 2014. Robbie Huff had been missing since February 11, 2015. Art Carasis was last seen on July 7, 2016, at the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse. Hefferman’s attorney, James Bustamante, has named the fourth victim as Hells Angels member Juan Guevara. Hefferman hasn’t been charged regarding the disappearances and alleged illegal cremation of Huff, Carasis, or the alleged fourth victim. A jury last year found Brian Wendt, Jonathan Nelson, and Russell Ott guilty of Silva’s murder. He is believed to have been murdered at the Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse in Fresno at the time of his disappearance. They are still awaiting sentencing.
Bustamante wrote of Hefferman’s “tumultuous and violent upbringing” in a sentencing memo. He alleged that Hefferman’s stepfather was abusive to him and his mother. Friends of Hefferman wrote character letters pointing out his charity work. Silva’s family wrote in a victim statement that not knowing where Silva was all this time had been extremely difficult for them and called Hell’s Angels “cowards”.
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