Imprisoned motorcycle club boss Kevin (Spike) O’Neill put a stop to an underworld peace treaty in the 1990s that would have squashed longstanding warfare between The Outlaws and Hells Angels, according to retired Hells Angels leader George Christie in an exclusive interview with Gangster Report. Christie believes O’Neill convinced then-Outlaws international president Harry (Taco) Bowman to scrap plans for a truce in a war that has now been raging for 44 years when the pair began negotiating to quell tensions in late 1992 and into 1993.

“We were making progress in peace talks, but Spike was in Taco’s ear telling him how weak they’d look if they stood down……eventually Taco walked away from the bargaining table,” Christie said.

Within months, Bowman put a murder contract on Christie’s head and had a hit team stalking his daily movements on the west coast. The Outlaws are a Midwest-centered club, while the Hells Angels dominate biker activity in California. The war between the two clubs began in the spring of 1974 when three Hells Angels from Massachusetts were slain by a group of Outlaws in a triple homicide in Florida amid a concerted effort by the Hells Angels to expand eastward.

*George Christie can be seen in this story’s featured image in a photo from the 1970s.

Taco Bowman and Spike O’Neill are both currently in federal prison serving life sentences for racketeering and murder. In the early 1980s, Bowman brought The Outlaws international headquarters from Chicago, the city the club was founded in, to his own hometown of Detroit. O’Neill ran all Outlaws affairs in Wisconsin.

Christie led the Hells Angels’ Southern California regime from 1978 until he voluntarily left the club in 2011. This month, his one-man show ironically entitled Outlaw, is running at the Whitefire Theatre in Los Angeles (visit George Christie’s website for all the latest information on his one-man show here). Christie’s autobiography, Exile on Front Street – My Life as a Hells Angel & Beyond, was released two years ago (purchase a copy here).

A pair of peace conferences were held between the Hells Angels and The Outlaws, with Christie representing the iconic Angels and Bowman representing his Outlaws’ rustbelt biker empire – both summits were hosted in Florida, one in December 1992 and the other in May 1993, per DEA documents chronicling The Outlaws movements throughout the tumultuous decade.

George Christie (L) & Taco Bowman (R) at one of their two biker peace summits in the early 1990s

Christie recalls sitting across from a worthy and well-respected adversary in Bowman and trying to find common ground by comparing their mindsets and sensibilities.

“I told Taco, ‘Listen, I know were from opposing clubs and opposite sides of this whole 20-year old dustup, but I also know, we’re cut from the same cloth – I’m quite certain if I was born and raised in Detroit like you, I’d be an Outlaw and if you were born and raised in California like me, you’d be a Hells Angel. Why don’t we put all this bullshit behind us?’ In the end though, he listened to Spike and backed off.”

Actually, he did quite a bit more than just back off.

Bowman decided to up the ante on the war and send an Outlaws hit squad out to Ventura, California, where Christie lived, to kill him. Luckily for Christie, federal agents intercepted word of the murder plot on a wire and apprehended a three-man murder unit from the Midwest en route to clip Christie.

“The feds came and told me they had picked up a crew of Outlaws riding around in Ventura looking to kill me on Taco’s orders,” Christie said. “I told them ‘I’ll make a note of it.’

Bowman had announced his intention to hunt down and murder Christie at an Outlaws New Year’s Eve party in Florida in 1993, a fiery tirade in front of hundreds of biker brethren that came to be known as the “rottener” speech. Per accounts by those present, Bowman implored his troops to take the fight to their rivals on the Hells Angels own turf and be “rottener” than ever before in their actions.

Over the next two years, bombings and murders of Hells Angels in Illinois and Wisconsin were commonplace. O’Neill would be charged with overseeing at least three of these slayings and one arson of a Hells Angels clubhouse.

Indictments against Bowman and O’Neill dropped in 1997. O’Neill was indicted out of Milwaukee in June and Bowman out of Tampa, Florida in August. They would both be found guilty at federal jury trials in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

The postscript to the Bowman-Christie beef might be the most interesting part of the tale. When Bowman was looking to appeal his conviction in the 2000s, he hired Christie’s daughter as his attorney. First, though, he cleared the idea with her dad.

“I got word that Taco wanted to talk me and I took the call and started busting his balls,” Christie remembered. “I said, ‘Is this the same Harry Bowman that wanted to shoot me dead,’ We both got a laugh. He knew I didn’t hold grudges. We were warriors in battle. We didn’t hate each other on a personal level.”

Today, Bowman is 69 years old and being housed in a federal correctional facility in North Carolina. The 61-year old O’Neill is doing his time in his home state of Wisconsin. At O’Neill’s 2001 sentencing hearing, his judge commented on how he had never sentenced a more vicious defendant in all his time on the bench.


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