Severe repercussions unveiled in a recent federal racketeering case in California ranged from forced face tattooing to being shot in the back of the head.
The details have emerged in separate trials involving 11 suspects and three sister club chapters — two in California in Sonoma County and Fresno, and the Salem/Boston area of Massachusetts.
In another, a 54-year-old Fresno member with no prior criminal record commandeered a local funeral home to secretly cremate the remains of a member who had been assassinated for picking a fight with a Salem club member.
Club members did it to hide evidence after a chapter president from Northern California and two others killed Silva in 2014, according to federal prosecutors.
Wendt, Nelson and Ott were convicted last year for Silva’s murder. Christopher “Rainman” Ranieri, the president of the club’s Salem chapter, was convicted in May for his role masterminding the plot.
So when Ranieri called his California counterparts to a meeting, “they agreed that Silva had to be killed” as a result, according to the Justice Department.
Then Wendt shot him in the back of the head.
Then Merl Hefferman, a member of the Fresno clubhouse who had primarily been known for hosting annual charity events for needy children, arranged for Silva to be cremated at a funeral home downtown. In court filings after his conviction, prosecutors alleged Hefferman may have played a role in additional secret cremations — a move his defense team protested because he had only been charged with obstructing evidence in connection with Silva’s death.
“For eight years, the victim’s family grieved without a body to mourn or certainty about what had happened to their loved one,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp said in a statement.
Foakes beat him with a bat, tattooed him across the forehead and sexually assaulted the victim’s wife while he was being held captive. Foakes has not yet been sentenced.