Nation/World

Indictment Links Colville Fugitive To Murder Probe

A Colville, Wash., man sought in a videotaped shootout with Ohio police was indicted Tuesday for possessing stolen firearms tied to a triple murder in Arkansas.

A federal grand jury in Spokane indicted Chevie Kehoe, 24, on two counts of possessing stolen firearms and a third count of possessing a machine gun.

Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents say the two firearms were owned by Arkansas gun dealer William Mueller, who was murdered along with his wife and stepdaughter last year.

The guns are a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun reported stolen in a March 9, 1995, burglary at Mueller’s home in Tilly, Ark., and an AR-15 assault rifle taken on Jan. 5, 1996, when Mueller and his family disappeared after leaving for a gun show.

The third count alleges Kehoe possessed a military-style assault rifle that was converted illegally to full-automatic, making it a machine gun.

That weapon also was under the 16-inch legal length limit because the flash suppressor at the end of the barrel had been removed, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks.

The Spokane indictment represents the first formal charges tying anyone to the unsolved Arkansas murders.

A trailer owned by Mueller and believed to have contained firearms, ammunition clips and other survivalist supplies was found empty and abandoned in February 1996.

Some of those guns were brought to the Northwest where they were sold at gun shows and pawn shops, and to people in the anti-government militia movement.

ATF agents began investigating Kehoe last summer after the firearms turned up in the Northwest, sources say.

The bodies of Mueller, 53, his wife, Nancy, 28, and her 8-year-old daughter were found last June 29 in a bayou near Russellville, Ark.

Plastic bags, wrapped with duct tape, were pulled over the murder victims’ heads. The hands and feet of the two adults were in handcuffs.

Mueller frequently attended gun shows and shared similar anti-government views with several friends and associates in militia and white separatist circles, authorities say.

Murder charges in Arkansas have not been filed, and the investigation continues.

The latest break in the case occurred on Dec. 10 when Spokane neo-Nazi skinhead Sean Michael Haines, 19, was arrested at a freeway rest stop near Sioux Falls, S.D.

In Haines’ vehicle, South Dakota police found a Bushmaster .223-caliber AR-15 assault rifle that ATF agents traced to Mueller.

Haines was released after telling authorities he got the weapon from Kehoe, his friend and fellow white supremacist, authorities say.

Shortly after Haines’ arrest, Kehoe left the Spokane area, where he had lived in a motor home at a campground with one of his wives, friends say.

Kehoe practices polygamy as part of his white supremacy religion, and had at least two wives at one time.

He apparently traveled to the Midwest, and may have gone to see an Aryan Nations leader in New Vienna, Ohio.

Kehoe has past ties with the Aryan Nations, and has lived near Colville. His friends say he leads an itinerant lifestyle, buying and selling firearms at gun shows.

Authorities say he was driving a Chevrolet Suburban with expired Washington license tabs that was stopped by Ohio state troopers on Feb. 15 in Wilmington, Ohio.

A gunbattle erupted when the passenger in the Suburban jumped out and began firing. The passenger has been identified as Kehoe’s brother, Cheyne Kehoe, 20.

A bystander was slightly wounded in a second gunbattle involving the Suburban later that day.

The suspects haven’t been seen in more than a week. The Kehoe brothers remain subjects of a nationwide manhunt.

They are charged in Ohio with multiple state charges of attempted murder of police officers and assault.

The brothers, their wives and at least two small children are believed to be traveling in a 1977 Dodge Executive motor home.

Even though formal charges have been filed, some federal investigators say they aren’t convinced the man with Chevie Kehoe is his brother.

They say it may be fugitive Timothy Thomas Coombs, wanted for a 1994 shooting of a Missouri state trooper.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo



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