hell's Angels

Hells Angels Used California Funeral Home To Cremate Bodies, According To The Feds

A federal lawsuit reveals that Hells Angels members were secretly cremated at a California funeral home. According to Inside Edition, a Fresno funeral home was referred to by members of the gang as “the pizza oven.” 

The news comes as the state of California sentences 54-year-old Merl Hefferman, former leader of Fresno’s Hells Angels chapter. Hefferman pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for using the funeral home to cremate Joel Silva, president of the organization’s Sonoma chapter. 

According to the prosecution, Silva was shot in the back of the head, execution style for “creating problems.” Three other members were convicted of his murder in 2022 and prosecutors alleged that the facility was also used to burn the bodies of Robbie Huff, Arthur Carasis, and Juan Guevara. 

The allegations stemmed from the testimony of the manager of the facility, who said that the group forced him to let them use the facilities to burn the bodies of several people.

James Bustamente, Hefferman’s lawyer, is petitioning the court for a sentence of 30 months for his client. He alleges that the evidence is insufficient to sentence Hefferman to a lengthy sentence, writing to the court in a memo, “The bottom line is if it is information not credible or sufficient to indict by way of grand jury, then it is not sufficiently reliable to consider for sentencing.”

In the memo, Bustamente also claims testimony about his client has been inconsistent, writing, “Despite ample opportunities to do so, it is clear that the Government did not find (the manager) credible enough to seek additional charges by way of the grand jury or for inclusion in the conspiracy charge.”

According to The Business Journal, Yost & Webb’s manager testified that Hefferman became obsessed with the crematory and told him that he had a desire to “make something disappear.” According to the manager’s testimony, July 16, a day after Silva’s murder, two men came to the funeral home and threatened the manager at gunpoint before loading Silva’s body into the incinerator. 

Hefferman has only pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, but he has not yet been charged with any other crimes in connection with the murder. The federal government is seeking a prison sentence of at least seven years.

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