The Lennoxville massacre, or Lennoxville purge, was a mass murder which took place at the Hells Angels clubhouse in Lennoxville, Quebec on March 24, 1985. Five members of the Hells Angels North Chapter, founded by Laurent "L'Anglais" Viau and Yves "Apache" Trudeau, were shot dead. This event divided rival outlaw motorcycle gangs in Quebec, leading to the formation of the Rock Machine club, a rival to the Hells in the 1990s.
Other Hells Angels felt that the North Chapter bikers were too wild and uncontrollable. They often used drugs they were supposed to sell and were suspected of skimming drug profits that were meant for other Hells Angels chapters.
North Chapter members were invited to a meeting at the Sherbrooke Chapter's Lennoxville clubhouse on March 24, 1985. The founding member of Hells Angels Canada and president of the North Chapter, Laurent "L'Anglais" Viau, and four of its members: Jean-Guy "Brutus" Geoffrion, Jean-Pierre "Matt le Crosseur" Mathieu, Michel "Willie" Mayrand, and Guy-Louis "Chop" Adam attended. When the five North Chapter members arrived, they were ambushed and murdered. Two months later, at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River, divers located the decomposing bodies of the victims wrapped in sleeping bags and tied to weightlifting plates.
Several members of the Hells Angels were present and played a role in the slaughter, but only four – Harold Pelletier, Luc "Sam" Michaud, Réjean "Zig-Zag" Lessard and later Robert "Snake" Tremblay – were convicted of first-degree murder. The others were convicted of lesser related crimes.
Pelletier, Michaud, Lessard and Tremblay were given life sentences for the murders with no chance of parole before 25 years. They were all granted parole nonetheless on the faint hope clause and ended up serving between 17 and 22 years each.
Richard was acquitted of all charges and died of a heart attack at his home in 1996.
Michaud was released on full parole in June 2005. Lessard and Pelletier were granted day parole in October 2008.
Quebec biker war
The event was considered extreme even for the criminal underworld, and it gave the Quebec's Hells Angels a notorious reputation. Salvatore Cazzetta found the event an unforgivable breach of the outlaw code and rather than joining the Hells, he, along with his brother Giovanni, formed their own smaller gang, the Rock Machine, in 1986.
Maurice Boucher, future Quebec Nomad chapter president, did not share Cazzetta's concerns and after finishing a 40-month sentence for armed sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl, he later that year joined the Hells Angels and began to rise through the ranks. For years, the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine co-existed peacefully. Police officials believe this was due to Boucher's respect for the Cazzetta brothers, who had connections to the Montreal Mafia, also known as the Rizzuto crime family, the only organized-crime group the bikers were unwilling to attack. In 1994, Salvatore Cazzetta was arrested at a pit-bull farm for attempting to import eleven tons of cocaine. The recently promoted Hells Montreal president Boucher began to increase pressure on the Rock Machine shortly after the arrest initiating the Quebec Biker war.
- "Highway to Hell". Julian Rubinstein. Retrieved 2011-10-10.
- Multiple murderer, ex-Hell's Angel biker granted day parole, Calgary Herald, October 24, 2008
- Quebec Hells Angel doing life for murder gets closer to parole, Montreal Gazette, October 17, 2007