Fresno Hells Angels president convicted of murdering another Angels member, racketeering, too

BRIANNA CALIX/bcalix@fresnobee.com
·2 min read

The president of the Hells Angels Motorcycle chapter in Fresno was among three Angels convicted Thursday in federal court of murdering one of their own Angels members in aid of racketeering.

Fresno chapter president Brian Wayne Wendt of Tulare, along with Santa Rosa residents Jonathan Nelson and Russell Taylor Ott, were found guilty in a federal court for the 2014 killing of fellow Angels member Joel Silva, the Department of Justice said.

The murder happened in Fresno.

Wendt, 45, Nelson 46, and Ott, 69, had determined that Silva was “creating problems” for the motorcycle club and, thus, decided to kill him, according to the DOJ.

According to federal prosecutors as told by NBC Bay Area, Nelson arranged for Silva’s murder with Ott.

Ott drove Silva from the Santa Rosa area to Fresno on the pretense of his needing to “fight” with the Fresno chapter president Wendt in order to resolve his problems with the club.

Upon arrival at the Hell Angels’ clubhouse in Fresno, Wendt shot Silva in the head.

The following day, Silva’s body was illegally cremated at a nearby funeral home.

The investigation into Silva’s death led to the FBI investigating the Fresno Hells Angels chapter and the Sonoma County Hells Angels chapter.

The Fresno Hells Angels chapter operates a toy drive for children each year during the December holiday season.

However, a 2017 indictment described the Hells Angels as a violent, transnational outlaw motorcycle gang.

In addition, the Hells Angels Sonoma County chapter was considered a subset of the gang whose members primarily operate in that Northern California county.

The Sonoma County motorcycle gang was accused of committing murder, assault, maiming, witness intimidation and more in the 2017 indictment.

A total of 11 Angels were arrested on racketeering charges.

The DOJ said that activity included murder, drug dealing, assault, robbery, extortion, illegal possession of firearms and obstruction of justice — which Wendt, Nelson and Ott took part of.

Wendt, along with Nelson and Ott, each face 10 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder and a lifetime in prison for the racketeering conspiracy charges.