The man believed to have been the last victim of Quebec’s biker gang war had nothing to do with the Hells Angels or drug trafficking.
On March 14, 2002, Yves Albert — a 34-year-old father of two young children — was fatally shot while fuelling up his car at a gas station in St-Eustache. Whoever shot Albert fled the scene before police arrived, but the Sûreté du Québec came up with a motive within hours.
Albert was driving the same type of car driven by Normand Whissel, one of the Rock Machine members who defied the Hells Angels and joined the Bandidos in January 2001. Albert and Whissel’s licence plates were almost identical, and the biker gang member lived close to where Albert was shot.
“(During the biker war) you would watch the news and hear about the murders, the shootings, the bombs and I would think ‘that’s sad,’ but I never thought it would happen to my son,” said Albert’s mother, Dolores Mallet. “He lived next door to me. I saw him every day. I asked myself how my son could have been a victim of this. But the police knew why right away.”
Two months before Albert was killed, an attempt had been made on Whissel’s life. In 2003, a close friend of Hells Angel Maurice (Mom) Boucher was charged with having conspired to kill Whissel, but no one has ever been charged in connection with Albert’s death.
“They will probably never arrest someone. It has been 17 years now,” said Mallet, who served for a year as president of Association des familles de personnes assassinées ou disparues.
Mallet is retired but still volunteers her time, as she had done before her son was killed. She is the treasurer for Les Amis de Simon, a support group of about 60 parents who have suffered the tragedy of losing a child.
“At first I wanted to live through this alone. I found it tired me out,” she said. “I decided to return to doing positive things like (volunteering). It can help make you more serene.”
Mallet said she sometimes wonders if the life of Josée-Anne Desrochers — the mother of Daniel Desrochers, an 11-year-old who was killed in Montreal in 1995 — was shortened by the tragedy. The boy’s mother died of pneumonia in 2005, when she was just 40 years old.
On Aug. 9, 1995, Marc Dubé, 26, was seated inside his Jeep when a bomb hidden near the passenger seat was set off. The explosion killed Dubé instantly, and a fragment from the explosion travelled across Adam St. and struck Daniel Desrochers in the head while he was walking by with a friend. The boy suffered severe brain damage and died four days later in a hospital.
The Montreal police eventually came up with the theory that Dubé was not the intended target of the bomb. Weeks before the bomb went off, a drug dealer with the same type of Jeep sold Dubé a set of unique tires, making Dubé’s vehicle a near match to the drug dealer’s. It turned out that, late in 1994, the man who sold Dubé the tires had taken part in a conspiracy to kill Maurice (Mom) Boucher, a Hells Angels leader during the war.
The public outcry after Daniel’s death led to the creation of the Wolverine squad, which assembled investigators from the Montreal police, Sûreté du Québec and RCMP. The squad placed an intense focus on Boucher. The Hells Angel sensed the pressure, and in 1997 he came up with a plan to have prison guards killed. He told underlings his intent was to intimidate the justice system, but Boucher had also displayed a hatred of provincial prison guards in the past. Three men who were part of Boucher’s drug trafficking network carried out his plans and killed guards Diane Lavigne on June 26, 1997 and Pierre Rondeau on Sept. 8, 1997. Robert Corriveau, a guard who was working on the same prisoner transport bus as Rondeau, was badly injured in the same ambush shooting. Boucher is serving a life sentence for the murders and attempted murder.
The following are just a few of the other innocent people who were killed during the biker war:
Guy Lemay’s body was discovered on Jan. 7, 1997. The Montrealer had the misfortune of living in the same building on Irwin St. as a man tied to the Rock Machine. Ronnie Marcogliese, one of three men who took part in Lemay’s death, later became an informant and admitted Lemay was killed in error. He told police the botched hit was carried out for the Hells Angels. Marcogliese and the two other men ended up with life sentences for Lemay’s murder. One of the men, Sylvain Malacket, now 57, admitted he ordered the hit for the Hells Angels and also arranged to have a man killed in Montreal in 1996 for a Colombian drug cartel. Malacket was granted full parole on July 6, 2017.
On Aug. 26, 1999, Serge Hervieux was killed at the Montreal car rental agency where he worked. The gunmen were looking for Serge Bruneau, a member of the Alliance who owned the agency. They called out the name Serge and shot Hervieux when he replied. In 2004, Éric (Pif) Fournier, a member of a Hells Angels support club, admitted to taking part in the murder and received a life sentence. He is now out on day parole. Louis Cartier, whose DNA was recovered following Hervieux’s death, was convicted of first-degree murder. He is also serving a life sentence.
On Jan. 7, 1999, Luc Bergeron, a 31-year-old private detective, was fatally shot several times as he approached his apartment complex in Ste-Foy. Bergeron’s death left police puzzled for years, until Gérald Gallant, a prolific hit man, revealed that he killed Bergeron because he was supplied with erroneous information from Rock Machine leader Marcel Demers. Gallant was supposed to kill a Hells Angel named Jonathan Robert. In 2013, Demers admitted asking Gallant to carry out 12 murders and was sentenced to a 20-year prison term.