A group of Hells Angels, photo courtesy Crouch family
Harold Chakirelis, a longtime member of the Cleveland Hells Angels, died on June 11
. Services were held this past weekend.
Chakirelis, most notably, was one two suspects in the infamous 1975 Sigley bombing, which was just one of the many bloody incidents propagated by the Angels and other motorcycle gangs in Cleveland during that deadly decade.
On Jan. 7, 1975, a suitcase bomb was left at the door of a Cleveland home. Brought inside by 26-year-old Burdell Offitt, who was visiting the home, the bomb exploded seconds later, killing him, 21-year-old mother Maryanne Sigley, and her 2-year-old son Michael. Three others were injured.
Years later, Hells Angels members would say they thought a member of a rival motorcycle gang lived at the house. That was not the case.
Chakirelis and fellow Hells Angel Richard Amato were arrested and indicted for the bombing. Judge James McGettrick dismissed the charges against Amato and, based on that move, prosecutors withdrew the charges against Chakirelis.
Years later, the judge was approached in a bar by someone who he thought was an Hells Angel but who was actually an undercover ATF agent.
"We really appreciate what you did for us," the agent said.
The judge responded by saying he should have asked for a bigger bribe and hadn't even collected the full amount yet. He was indicted and in 1985 pleaded no contest.
In writings later in life, Clarence Crouch
, a fellow Hells Angel member who turned state's witness and testified in a series of trials against the club, claimed Amato thought he was targeting an Outlaw member and that Chakirelis was also responsible. It had been Harry's birthday that night, and before the cake could be eaten, Crouch says they realized Harry hadn't "rolled his bones" yet. Which led Amato and Harry to exit the clubhouse on Edna Avenue and Harry allegedly saying he'd have his bones "before the cake goes stale."