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Hells Angels Stage Funeral for Leader Killed in Bar Fight

June 11, 1989|From Associated Press

OAKLAND — Michael (Irish) O'Farrell, a Hells Angels leader, received the club's traditional funeral honors Saturday as bikers wearing jackets emblazoned with a winged skull escorted his body to a cemetery.

O'Farrell, believed by law enforcement officials to be second in the Hells Angels hierarchy only to the motorcycle club's spiritual leader, Ralph (Sonny) Barger Jr., died during a bloody bar brawl on Tuesday.

O'Farrell, 40, who along with Barger was awaiting sentencing on federal explosives convictions, was stabbed in the neck, chest and back, as well as being shot four times from behind, according to the Alameda County coroner's office.

About 1,000 people filed into a funeral home in East Oakland to pay final respects to O'Farrell, who acted as president of the club's Oakland chapter in the early 1980s while Barger recovered from a throat operation for cancer.

After visiting O'Farrell's closed casket, decorated with flowers and pictures of him on his motorcycle, mourners walked into an adjoining room to offer condolences to Barger. Motorcycle clubs throughout the West sent wreaths.

A motive has not been established for the slaying, but Alameda County Sheriff's Lt. Dean Hess said "drugs were involved." Powdered methamphetamine, better known as speed, was found on the patio of the San Leandro bar where the killing occurred.

Authorities are searching for Michael Shepherd, 31, who has been charged with homicide in connection with O'Farrell's death. A man nicknamed Jerry also is being sought by detectives for investigation of firing several shots during the fight, including one that wounded Michael Musick, 42, another Hells Angels member.

Barger and O'Farrell, both of Oakland, were convicted in October in federal court of conspiracy to transport and receive in interstate commerce explosives with intent to kill.

During his tenure as temporary national leader of the Hells Angels, O'Farrell defended the club, telling the Los Angeles Times in 1983, "We're not organized crime."

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