Judge allows indicted Hells Angels to attend fallen club member’s funeral

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SONOMA — In an act of benevolence, a federal judge has temporarily suspended the bail conditions for five alleged Hells Angels members, so that they may attend the funeral of a member of the biker club recently killed in a car crash.

This week United States Magistrate Judge Sallie Kim signed an order permitted co-defendants Jonathan “Jon “Jon Nelson, Russell Lyles, Jr., Damien Cesena, Brian Burke, and David Diaz to attend the funeral of Jason Cliff, 50, a motorcycle shop owner who died April 8. Federal prosecutors did not object to the order.

The order permits only the defendants who had bailed out to attend Cliff’s funeral Saturday. It temporarily suspends bail conditions that barred the defendants from associating with other Hells Angels, but requires them to return to their homes by 5 p.m. the day of the funeral.

The five, along with Cliff, were among 11 people indicted last November, in an FBI investigation that focused on the Sonoma chapter of the Hells Angels. Nelson and four others were charged with murdering a person — referred to only as “Victim 1” in court records — at a Fresno Hells Angels clubhouse in 2014.

Cliff, a relatively minor defendant, had been charged with joining former Sonoma club chapter president Raymond “Ray Ray” Foakes and others in an brutal assault. Charges against the other defendants ranged from robbery and extortion to witness intimidation and “maiming.”

An April 10 article in the Sonoma-based Press Democrat says Cliff died after his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck on the Lake County Highway near Lakeport. Two people in the truck were not injured.

Cliff’s funeral describes him as a “deeply loved father” who will be “greatly missed by all.” It describes him as a longtime successful motorcycle shop owner in Rancho Cordova.

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