Yves Trudeau (biker)
|Other names||Apache, The Mad Bumper|
|Criminal charge||43 counts of manslaughter|
|Criminal penalty||Life in prison|
|Criminal status||On parole|
Yves "Apache" Trudeau (1946–2008), also known as "The Mad Bumper", is a Canadian former member of the Hells Angels North Chapter outlaw motorcycle gang in Laval, Quebec. Frustrated by cocaine addiction and his suspicion that his fellow gang members wanted him dead he became a government informant. In exchange he received a lenient sentence, life in prison but eligible for parole after seven years, for the killing of 43 people from September 1973 to July 1985.
He was given a new identity, in 1994, when he was granted parole. He was arrested in March 2004 for sexually assaulting a young boy and received four more years. In 2007, Trudeau learned he had cancer and was transferred to a medical centre from Archambault penitentiary.
In the late 1960s, he joined the outlaw motorcycle gang, Popeyes. That Quebec biker gang would become Canada's first Hells Angels chapter. Trudeau was a founding member of the Hells Angels in Quebec in 1977 after the Popeyes patched over.
In September 1979, Trudeau and others broke away from the Montreal Chapter to form the North Chapter, based in Laval. The group would become known for its violent and reckless behavior and excessive drug use. Standing five-foot-six and weighing 135 pounds, Trudeau did not resemble the prototypical biker, but he is considered to be the Hells Angels' most prolific killer.
Trudeau admitted to killing 43 people from September 1973 to July 1985. He was the first Canadian Hells Angel to earn the “Filthy Few” patch, awarded to members who have killed for the gang.
Among his murder victims:
- Jean-Marie Viel, shot to death in Trois-Rivières in 1970 after he made the mistake of stealing a motorcycle from the gang. Viel was Trudeau's first murder victim.
- Jeanne Desjardins, a grandmother, killed in February 1980 for trying to help her son, ex-Hells Angel Andre Desjardins. Trudeau beat her to death and then killed her son and his girlfriend. The bodies of the latter two were dumped in the St. Lawrence River.
- Donald McLean, a member of the rival Outlaws gang, and his girlfriend Carmen Piche, blown up in May 1980 when a bomb attached to McLean’s Harley-Davidson exploded.
- Reputed West End Gang member Hugh Patrick McGurnaghan, blown up in Westmount in October 1981 when a bomb planted in his Mercedes-Benz detonated. Trudeau later said West End Gang chieftain Frank "Dunie" Ryan had hired him to commit the murder.
- Michel Desormiers, a brother-in-law of reputed mob boss Frank Cotroni, gunned down in July 1983. The killing was supposedly cleared with the Montreal Mafia first.
- Even fellow Hells Angels were not safe. Trudeau killed Charlie Hachez, a member of the North Chapter, because he had a heavy drug problem and allegedly conspired to kidnap Frank Ryan's kids and owed Ryan $150,000 in drug money. Hachez was lured to a meeting, killed, and his body dumped in the St. Lawrence River.
- And when Frank Ryan was himself murdered, Trudeau was hired to exact revenge. In November 1984 a television set stuffed with explosives was delivered to the apartment where Ryan’s alleged killers were holed up. The explosion killed four people and injured eight, and knocked a huge hole in the apartment building in downtown Montreal.
Trudeau claimed that Ryan's successor, Allan "The Weasel" Ross, had offered to pay him $200,000 to eliminate Ryan’s killers, but Ross later told Trudeau to collect from the Halifax Chapter instead. When Trudeau approached the Halifax Chapter about payment, they refused.
This only added to the resentment many Hells Angels already felt towards members of the North Chapter. 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 cheating other chapters out of drug profits. A decision was made to liquidate the North Chapter, in what would be known in biker history as the Lennoxville massacre.
A meeting was set up at the Sherbrooke Chapter’s clubhouse in Lennoxville on March 24, 1985. At that gathering, five members of the North Chapter were shot to death, wrapped in sleeping bags, and dumped in the St. Lawrence River. The others were allowed to live and were absorbed into the Montreal Chapter.
Trudeau was supposed to be at that meeting, but had enrolled in a detoxification program the week before. He later said he wanted to clean himself up, because he knew what happened to members who were always high. News of the North Chapter slaughter soon reached Trudeau at the detox center in Oka, and Trudeau received a visit from a Montreal Chapter representative. Trudeau was told that he was out of the gang and would have to have his gang tattoos removed.
After his release from the detox center, Trudeau discovered that the Hells Angels had taken his motorcycle and $46,000 in cash that belonged to him from the North Chapter clubhouse. They said they would return the bike if he killed two people for the gang. Trudeau succeeded in killing one of the targets. Jean-Marc Deniger was killed in May 1985 and stuffed in his car. Satisfied, the Hells Angels gave Trudeau his motorcycle back.
But Trudeau knew he was living on borrowed time. The Hells Angels had taken out a $50,000 contract on his head. He decided to become a police informant and government witness.
In 1985, Trudeau pleaded guilty to 43 counts of manslaughter, which officially means he didn't intentionally kill his 43 victims – 29 of whom died from firearms, 10 from bombs, three from being beaten to death, and one from strangulation. Police estimated 30 to 35 of his victims were other motorcycle gang members or sympathizers. Trudeau also testified on 40 other murders and 15 attempted murders.
As part of his controversial contract with the government, Trudeau was sentenced to life in prison, with eligibility for parole in seven years. Under his deal, the government also gave him $40,000 over the next four years and about $35 a week for cigarettes.
Release from prison
Trudeau was granted parole in 1994 and given a new identity. He lived under the name Denis Côté and worked as an orderly in a nursing home. However, after being laid off in 2000, he slid back into cocaine addiction and sexually assaulted a 13-year-old boy, for which he pleaded guilty in 2004. He was sentenced to a four-year prison term.
In 2006 Trudeau was diagnosed with bone-marrow cancer. In July 2008 the Canadian National Parole Board granted him parole and ordered him released to an outside medical-care facility. As part of his release, Trudeau is not allowed to contact minors or the victims of his crimes.
- Gazette, The (2008-07-16). "He killed at least 43, now ex-biker faces death". Canada.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09.
- Coming clean on witness protection, Globe and Mail, July 16, 2008
- Terminally ill ex-hit man gets parole again, Globe and Mail, July 16, 2008
- He killed at least 43, now ex-biker faces death, Montreal Gazette, July 16, 2008
- Infamous killer not free yet, Montreal Gazette, November 28, 2007
- Ex-biker hitman imprisoned for child molesting, CTV, July 14, 2004
- Biker informant sentenced in sex assault, CBC News, July 14, 2004
- Hells Angels hit man 'Apache' Trudeau up on sex charges, CBC News, March 25, 2004
- Takin’ care of Canadians outlaw biker business, North Shore News, April 26, 2000