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Bay Area Hells Angels sentenced to life in prison for violent crimes

NorCal Hells Angels Members Indicted On Murder, Racketeering Charges by KPIX | CBS NEWS BAY AREA on YouTube

SANTA ROSA -- Three men were sentenced to life in prison for murder in aid of racketeering as part of their membership in the Sonoma County chapter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club, federal prosecutors said Friday.

The sentencings of Jonathan "Jon Jon" Nelson, Brian Wayne Wendt and Russell Taylor "Rusty" Ott followed a jury trial in June of 2022, according to the U.S. Attorney for Northern California.

The jury concluded that the trio participated in an enterprise that engaged in a broad array of violent crimes including murder, assault, robbery, extortion and witness intimidation, prosecutors said in a press release.

RELATED: Sonoma County Hell's Angels members found guilty of racketeering, murder charges (May 2023)

Nelson, 46, of Santa Rosa, Wendt, 45, of Tulare, and Ott, 70, of Santa Rosa, were convicted of murder related to the killing of Hells Angels member Joel Silva.

Nelson, who was then the president of the Sonoma County chapter, arranged for Ott to take Silva to Fresno. At the Hells Angels Fresno clubhouse, Wendt, then president of the Fresno chapter, shot Silva in the back of the head, prosecutors said.

Silva's body was then cremated. The three and other Hells Angels threatened the lives of witnesses and their families to keep anyone from cooperating with law enforcement.

Five other defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and have been sentenced to prison terms of up to 84 months.

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