The “GOVERNMENTS” account of the story of Gordon Khal, Yorie Khal, Scott Faul.
On February 13, 1983, the US Marshal for North Dakota, Ken Muir, and Deputy US Marshal Robert Cheshire were killed while attempting to serve an arrest warrant near Medina, North Dakota. Four other law enforcement officers were wounded in the gunbattle. Their opponents were members of a local Posse Comitatus group, one of whom was also gravely wounded in the encounter.
Gordon Kahl was a tax protestor and member of a local Posse Comitatus group in North Dakota. A decorated veteran of WWII, Kahl was no stranger to combat. He had flown over 50 missions as a turret gunner on a B-25 and shot down 10 enemy planes. Having been radicalized concerning Federal tax policy, he had previously been convicted of tax evasion in Texas and was on parole. As a result of a parole violation, a Federal arrest warrant had been issued for him. Marshal Muir planned to take Kahl into custody after a tax protester meeting in Medina. The Medina Police Chief mandated that the arrest take place outside of town.
A roadblock was set up about half a mile outside of town, manned by Marshal Muir, Deputy Marshal Carl Wigglesworth, and Medina Police Officer Steve Schnabel. Deputy Marshals Cheshire and James Hopson, along with Stutsman County Deputy Bradley Kapp maintained position in town to follow Kahl when he left the meeting.
Kahl left the meeting accompanied by his wife Joan, his son Yorie, and several other tax protestors. They were in two vehicles. Immediately after leaving Medina, Gordon Kahl spotted the roadblock. Both vehicles pulled into the driveway of a home and started to turn around. Before they could head back to Medina, a Dodge Ramcharger pulled into position on the road to cut them off. In it were Deputies Cheshire, Hopson, and Kapp. The Deputies dismounted from their vehicle. Cheshire was armed with an AR-15, while Hopson and Kapp had shotguns. Following that, Gordon Kahl, Yorie Kahl, and Scott Faul dismounted from their vehicles. All were armed with Mini-14 rifles. A standoff began.
The Kahls and Faul maneuvered into positions of cover around the vehicles. In response, Cheshire had Muir, Wigglesworth, and Officer Schnabel move up close to the standoff. Faul began backing toward the house and Wigglesworth moved to intercept him. All parties in the encounter except Muir were armed with rifles or shotguns. Most of the confrontation takes place at a range of only a few yards. The stage is set for a close range gunbattle with long guns. The results would be devastating.
After approximately 10 minutes of maneuvering and back and forth shouting, a shot is fired. Deputy Cheshire is hit in the chest and badly wounded. Deputy Kapp shoots Yorie Kahl several times with his shotgun. Marshal Muir, an accomplished marksman with a revolver, also shoots Yorie but the .38 round is stopped by the .45 autoloader that Yorie carries in a shoulder holster. Gordon Kahl then shoots and kills Marshal Muir. Immediately afterward, Kahl shoots and wounds both Schnabel and Kapp. Hopson is felled when a piece of asphalt is kicked up by a ricochet and enters his ear and then brain.
Deputy US Marshal Robert Cheshire, Source: US Marshals Service
The injured Kapp is forced to retreat when Kahl advances on his position. Kahl then shoots the already mortally wounded Cheshire twice in the head with his Mini-14. After executing Cheshire, Kahl takes Schnabel’s revolver and police car. The Medina Police Chief brings the local fire and rescue crew to treat the wounded.
After the shootout, Kahl then drove the seriously injured Yorie to the local clinic where he was stabilized and evacuated to a hospital in a nearby city. Faul and Gordon Kahl used Officer Schnabel’s stolen police vehicle to flee the area. Kahl left North Dakota and went to Arkansas. He was on the run for several months and the subject of a nationwide manhunt, wanted by both the US Marshals and the FBI.
Kahl was involved in another shootout with Federal and local law enforcement officers in Arkansas the following June. It resulted in Kahl’s death along with Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Matthews. Yorie Kahl recovered from his wounds and was tried, along with Scott Faul, for the murder of Deputy Cheshire. They were sentenced to life imprisonment. Their appeals have been exhausted. Both are scheduled to be released in 2023.
THE TRUTH BEHIND THE MURDER OF GORDON KAHL.
Tax Protestor Gordon Kahl stopped filing Income Taxes in 1968. For 9 years thereafter, the IRS ignored him, but in 1977 after Gordon Kahl spoke on a radio talk show regarding the illicitness of the income tax, some 250 phone calls would come into the radio station over the next two days; either supporting Kahl in some aspect, or pledging never to file another tax return.And with that, the IRS came down on Kahl like a ton of bricks. They quickly assembled a case against him and two weeks later threw a criminal prosecution against him for violating Title 26, Section 7203 [“Willful Failure to File”].
Gordon Kahl was a low-income farmer with 6 children not even meeting minimal statutory standards for threshold income levels achieved before being required to file taxes, but that was not about to stop the IRS, who is good at changing the facts by creating facts.
He was convicted and incarcerated.
When out of Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary on parole, Kahl left the Texas where in he was paroled by claiming that some aspect of the Restriction Orders was defective. He soon moved to North Dakota — and there, he met his fate.
A criminal Summons issued from a Federal Court in Midland, Texas was served on Gordon Kahl on August 8, 1980, charging him with a misdemeansor. Gordon Kahl responded by informing the Court that he would not be appearing, and the matter was allowed to be deferred until March 31, 1982, when the Justice Department obtained a Federal Arrest Warrant citing his parole violation.
Then, that Warrant was held up again until July 26, 1982, some 16 months later, when it was sent to the U.S. Marshals Office in Fargo, North Dakota on February 13, 1983.
The United States Marshals and the Federal Court in Texas knew of his whereabouts in North Dakota at all times.
Ronald Reagan as President, and with William French Smith sitting as Attorney General, the word came down the pipeline to GET RID OF GORDON KAHL, and the stage was set for the kind of confrontation the Feds wanted.
A violent attack was planned against Gordon Kahl at his farmhouse, and it was going to be well publicized. The attack would be in the form of a roadblock, it would be in the evening hours, and it would occur in a remote rural area. The timing of the attack in February of 1983 was selected to coincide with the trials of other related criminal prosecutions then going on that would be favorably tipped towards the Government, as the Juries were exposed to what would be surfacing visibly on the news as the Gordon Kahl “incident.”
From his farm in Heaton, North Dakota, both Gordon Kahl, along with his neighbors, and the Chief of Police of Medina, North Dakota, Darrell Graff, all had received several advanced notices that the United States Marshals were planning a very unpleasant reception for Gordon Kahl, and in the case of Darrell Graff, he would have no part of it in his town and told the U.S. Marshals to take it outside of his town.
THE DAY OF THE AMBUSH
On the 14th of February, 1983, Gordon Kahl, accompanied by his wife and son Yori, left a meeting in a Medina, North Dakota commercial district and headed home.
Gordon Kahl was under surveillance and he knew it. He could have been picked up at the meeting, but the Feds had a surprise for him and wanted the remoteness of a rural environment.
His son Yori detected something adverse and dangerous in the air, and so he took his father’s jacket and cap and wore those on himself on the ride home that afternoon.
Not far from his farmhouse a roadblock had been set up by U.S. Marshal Kenneth Muir. It was a very unusual roadblock in that it had an ambulance and firetruck waiting there. Yes, there was going to be some trouble. The Marshal had not come to arrest, but to murder. Bringing neither the Arrest Warrant, nor any identification, Deputy Muir brought his gun and orders to terminate Gordon Kahl.
Arriving at the roadblock, Gordon’s son, Yori Kahl, fled the pickup truck and ran to a nearby telephone pole for cover. Thinking that Yori was his dad Gordon, Marshal Muir first to open the shooting by firing several shots at Yori.
Yori did not fall to the ground quick enough to satisfy the killer Marshal, so Marshal Muir kept on shooting until Yori fell.
After seeing his own son cut down by Marshal Muir, Gordon Kahl grabbed a gun and let Marshal Muir have it, killing him and Deputy Marshal Robert Chesire. and Injuring Deputy Marshal James Hopson.
Staying in the background, looking at all of this shooting and profanity being thrown about, was Chief Darrell Graff of the Medina Police Department, who was told in advance that Kahl was going to buy the farm, and that he was to stay out of it.
Gordon went over to the telephone pole, dragged his son Yori, white with blood loss and bleeding profusely, over to an unmarked police car, drove him to a hospital back in Medina, and then as a thick fog quickly settled in on the Fargo countryside, Gordon Kahl sped away into the night.
Soon, a swarm of military stormtroopers descended on Fargo, in military clothing and using military trucks [see Time Magazine [“Dakota Dragnet”], page 25 (February 28, 1983)]. They were on search and destroy orders. Gordon Kahl was immediately placed on the FBI’s ten most wanted list, and was the subject of the most intensive fugitive search in the history of the FBI.
thousands of armed forces were called into search the surrounding North Dakota countryside. Every available private bounty hunter known to the FBI was hired and put on the case, but Gordon Kahl slipped through it all.
Comparison to what they can do when they feel like it, it is worthwhile noting how J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI never showed any such interest in capturing unknown fleeing killers when President Kennedy was shot in Dallas. No roadblocks, no dragnets, no manhunts, no searching — nothing but CIA agents carrying Secret Service credentials restraining people from approaching the grassy knoll for about 10 minutes.
For the next three months, Gordon Kahl had found a home with some friends, Mr. and Mrs. Ginter, and a Mr. Russell, who kept moving him quietly from house to house. It was rather obvious to anyone that if he was ever found, he would be killed immediately. In time, Mr. Russell’s daughter, Karen Russell Robertson, noticed that her father was hiding Gordon Kahl. Possessed with First Person evidence [“I saw…,” “I heard…”], she in turn went to the FBI and spilled the beans. She was given $25,000 and the promise of immunity from prosecution.
The rural house where Gordon Kahl was staying was placed under FBI surveillance.
On the morning of June 4th, a special FBI team of animals and savage killers [which is no exaggeration], known as the FBI SWAT TEAM, left their home base in Washington, D.C. and flew into Lawrence County, Arkansas on a private FBI jet. There, they were met by local FBI agents, other FBI agents, the Arkansas State Police, the Sheriff of Lawrence County, Arkansas, his deputies, and a confluence of United States Marshals assembled from across the country. Several Marshals invited to the Kahl execution operation arrived too late and missed it.
THE MURDER OF GORDON KAHL
Later in the afternoon, it all began. The quiet, isolated and remote house was cordoned off, roadblocks were set up, and all without Gordon Kahl detecting anything amiss. Soon that afternoon, Mr. Ginter left the house alone and he was stopped down the road.
He claimed his wife, Norma Ginter, was in the house alone. Sheriff Gene Matthews went to the front door to remove Mrs. Ginter from the scene.
With her out of the way, the FBI started open shooting, and saturated the house with bullets; but the earth shelter house was made with concrete walls and Gordon Kahl survived through it all without a scratch.
The 36 year old local Sheriff, Gene Matthews, was killed incidental in the FBI siege on the Gordon Kahl hideout.
After a while, as the firing stopped, the FBI cordoned off the house for themselves while the Delta Force animals converged on the house like starved panthers going for a piece of meat. They found Gordon Kahl alive and well inside the home, hiding behind the refrigerator. He was taken to the living room, thrown on the floor, and was worked over with the butt end of their rifles. While numerous bones were being fractured and his teeth were being smashed in, other members of Delta Force went on a rampage in the house, smashing pictures and the television set, over-turning furniture, a copier, and taking a fireman’s axe and chopping up a bookshelf.
While Gordon Kahl was pinned to the floor by the 6 to 8 Delta Force panthers, still under attack from the gun butts, the FBI agent with the fireman’s axe turned to Gordon Kahl himself and chopped off his hand. Then he went around and chopped off Gordon Kahl’s other hand, and then both of his feet were severed. While screaming with pain and with blood gushing out profusely over the floor where his hands and feet used to be, Gordon Kahl was shot in the head at close range, killing him.
A local Deputy Sheriff was given the honor of removing the bullet from Gordon Kahl’s head at the murder scene. [later that week, the deputy would tell a neighbor that he had not eaten in three days].
When local people viewed Gordon Kahl’s dismembered body, they became nauseous and sick.
The body of Sheriff Matthews was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, while later in the evening after the fire the Feds had set had died down, the charred body of Gordon Kahl was taken to the local coroner. The dismembered body was later identified as being that of Gordon Kahl.
The corpse identified as being Gordon Kahl’s was missing teeth, hands, and feet, had a bullet hole in the head (without a bullet), and was extensively covered with tissue bruises and fractured bones.
Gordon Kahl was later buried with military honors — whatever that meant. His wife back in North Dakota received several mean and ugly death threats from the Feds to keep quite or be murdered herself.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country went on like Alice strolling through Wonderland; believing that all was well and that the Federal Government is your trusted friend, and that some little Tax Protestor over there got what he deserved.Back in Arkansas,
While shifting through the smoldering ruins in the kitchen, a reporter for the New York Times accompanied by Ray Wade, the land owner’s son, found Gordon Kahl’s left foot that had been severed off by the axe left behind in the house. It was taken to the local coroner Dr. Fahmy Malak in Little Rock, confirmed as being Gordon Kahl’s sliced off foot. However, this was news not fit to emphasize, and the reporter’s story was blurred over when printed.
Mr. and Mrs. Ginter, who had been harboring Gordon Kahl, were charged not only with aiding and abetting a fugitive, but also were fraudulently charged with the murder of Sheriff Matthews. At trial, the only evidence introduced against them, outside of the background story, was the $25.000 informant Art Russell’s daughter, Karen Russell Robertson, who reported to the Jury what she had seen her father do. And with that eyewitness evidence, the Ginters and Art Russell were convicted and sentenced to a Federal Penitentiary.
After spending a while at the hospital, Yori Kahl would actually survive to be charged with murder along with a friend Scott Faul and be convicted by a jury to 30 year in prison.
They are both still in prison to this day.
Excepted release date of 2023.
Now you know the rest of the story of the murder of Gordon Kahl.