Federal prosecutors have filed a sentencing memorandum in the San Francisco division of the U.S. District Court, alleging that four missing individuals were secretly cremated in a Fresno funeral home. The claims involve the Sonoma and Fresno chapters of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. According to prosecutors, three Hells Angels members believed that fellow member Joel Silva was causing problems for the Sonoma County chapter and conspired to have him killed. Silva visited the Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse, where he was allegedly murdered. His body has not been found.
During the investigation into Silva’s death and subsequent cover-up, federal investigators discovered evidence suggesting that Merl Frederick Hefferman, a member of the Fresno Hells Angels, was involved in arranging a secret cremation. Testimony from Levi Phipps, a manager at the Yost and Webb funeral home in Fresno, revealed that Hefferman had expressed a fascination with the crematory and a desire to make something disappear. Phipps stated that Hefferman instructed him to be at the crematory the day after Silva’s disappearance, where two men arrived and loaded Silva’s body into an incinerator. Phone records reportedly support Phipps’ testimony.
Prosecutors also suspect that three other missing men, Robbie Huff, last seen in 2015, Art Carasis, who went missing in July 2016, and an unidentified fourth man, may have been disposed of in the same Fresno crematory. All three individuals are believed to have had affiliations with the Hells Angels.
Hefferman has pleaded guilty to obstructing justice in connection with Silva’s case but has not been charged in relation to the other disappearances. His attorney argues that the government’s case lacks sufficient evidence to bring charges in the additional three cases. Hefferman’s sentencing is scheduled for Thursday.