The Wilmington shootout
and the hunt for the Kehoe brothers


Chevie Kehoe

Cheyne Kehoe

On Feb. 15, 1997, state troopers in Wilmington made a routine traffic stop but found themselves in a shootout with two men who then fled the scene and escaped.

Police later identified the wanted men as Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe, residents of Washington state with connections to white separatist groups.

The Kehoe brothers were at large for four months before being apprehended in June 1997.

Cheyne Kehoe was extradited to Ohio and on Jan. 12, 1998 was convicted of feloneous assault and attempted murder. On Feb. 20, 1998, Chevie Kehoe pleaded guilty to to feloneous assault, attempted murder and carrying a concealed weapon. In exchange, prosecutors dropped 11 other counts.

Chevie Kehoe also faces federal and state charges related to the murder of an Arkansas gun dealer and his family. In addition, investigators were looking into claims that Chevie Kehoe may have been connected to the Oklahoma City bombing.


The driver was identifed by police
as Chevie Kehoe.

Investigators believe this man
is Cheyne Kehoe

The shootout occurred on Ohio 73 west of US 22, and was followed by a second confrontation minutes later when the vehicle, a Chevrolet Suburban, was spotted in a parking lot on US 22 near Nelson Avenue.

Within a day of the shooting, the Daily News learned that police had identified the driver as Chevie O'Brien Kehoe of Spokane, WA.  However, the newspaper did not publish Kehoe's name until he was charged in an indictment on Feb. 20.

Investigators were less certain of the identity of the passenger, but later concluded it was Chevie's brother Cheyne Kehoe.

Both were indicted on 16 counts, including attempted murder of a police officer.
  On Jan. 12, 1998 Cheyne Kehoe was found guilty of feloneous assault and attempted murder. Chevie Kehoe pleaded guilty to similar charges on Feb. 20, 1998.

A massive manhunt and a missed opportunity

But on Feb. 22, 1997, the Daily News  reported that Chevie Kehoe had told troopers he was staying at a Ross County campgrounds, yet the patrol didn't notify the Ross County sheriff's office until Feb. 18, and by that time the Kehoes were gone. The transcript of Kehoe's conversation with troopers was captured on the videotape.

June 1997: Kehoe brothers apprehended

The Kehoes seemed to have vanished without a trace and were at large for four months. But on June 16, Cheyne Kehoe turned himself in to local authorities in Colville, Washington. One day later, authorities arrested Chevie Kehoe in southwestern Utah.

Investigators said both brothers, along with their wives and children, had been living on a ranch near Cedar City, Utah. The owner of the ranch, Rodney Leavitt, 70, said he had no hint the men were fugitives. "All I can say is the last couple of months they've been awful good workers," he told reporters.

Leavitt said the FBI contacted him after learning of Chevie Kehoe's whereabouts when his brother surrendered. Leavitt said he agreed to lure Chevie Kehoe off the ranch to a nearby feed store so authorities could more easily apprehend him.

"I just lied to him," Leavitt said. "It's pretty hard to lead a man to slaughter when he's your good friend, but I couldn't condone what he did either. If he's shooting at people, he shouldn't be loose."

In custody

Above: Cheyne Kehoe surrenders in Colville, Washington.
Right: Chevie Kehoe under arrest in Utah.

The Mueller family in a 1989 family photo.

Murder charges

  On Sept. 23, 1997, while Chevie Kehoe awaited trial in Wilmington, he and another man were charged with three counts of capital murder in the 1996 slaying of an Arkansas gun dealer and his family.
  Also charged was Danny Lee Graham, of Oklahoma City.
  In June 1996 the decomposed bodies of William Mueller, 52, his wife, Nancy, 28, and Mrs. Mueller's daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Powell, 8, were found in an Arkansas bayou.
  The Muellers had been missing for six months, having last been seen alive Jan. 9, 1996.
   Witnesses told investigators that Kirby and Chevie Kehoe knew the Muellersbecause they shared an interest in firearms and gun shows, and that "before the murders, there had possibly been afeud" between the Kehoes and Muellers.
   Kehoe was formally indicted in the Mueller homicide on Dec. 12.

Link to Oklahoma City?

  In January 1998 the FBI acknowledged it was investigating reports that Chevie Kehoe may have been connected to the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Selected Dayton Daily News stories:

GUNMEN AT LARGE
MANHUNT ON AFTER WILMINGTON SHOOTOUT
Published: Sunday, February 16, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Wendy Hundley DAYTON DAILY NEWS

SHOOTOUT SUSPECTS INDICTED
Brothers linked to firing on cops in Wilmington
Published: Friday, February 21, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Tom Beyerlein

ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE LAW
KEHOES WANTED FOR QUESTIONING
Published: Sunday, March 2, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Russell Carollo 1997 DAYTON DAILY NEWS

KEHOE MANHUNT
FUGITIVE SURRENDERS
Kehoe's brother, Chevie, still wanted
Published: Tuesday, June 17, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Lou Grieco DAYTON DAILY NEWS

AUTHORITIES NAB 2ND FUGITIVE
Chevie Kehoe held in Utah
Published: Wednesday, June 18, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Lou Grieco and Steve Bennish Dayton Daily News

TRAIL TIES KEHOES, SLAYINGS
Gun parts allegedly owned by slain dealer
Published: Thursday, September 11, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Janice Morse DAYTON DAILY NEWS

ARKANSAS
POLICE CHARGE CHEVIE KEHOE IN 3 SLAYINGS
Published: Thursday, September 25, 1997 Page: 1A

WILMINGTON
KEHOE INDICTED IN KILLING
* Older brother involved in shootout is portrayed as a dangerousrevolutionary
Published: Saturday, December 13, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Tom Beyerlein and Russell Carrollo DAYTON DAILY NEWS

COURTS
KEHOE GUILTY ON 4 COUNTS
* The jury deliberated 6 hours before handing down the verdict justbefore midnight.
Published: Tuesday, January 13, 1998 Page: 1A
By: By Tom Beyerlein DAYTON DAILY NEWS

BOMBING
FBI LOOKING INTO CLAIM ABOUT KEHOE
* A newspaper report suggests Chevie may have been involved.
Published: Saturday, January 17, 1998 Page: 3A

CHEYNE KEHOE GETS 24 YEARS
In court, he links brother to bombing of a federal building
Published: Wednesday, January 21, 1998 Page: 1A
By Richelle Thompson Warren County Bureau

CHEVIE KEHOE PLEADS GUILTY
Admits role in shootout, but not in bombing
Published: Saturday, February 21, 1998 Page: 1B
By Richelle Thompson Warren County Bureau

  

  

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File created: 2-18-1997
Updated: 2-21-1998
Prepared by: Dayton Daily News Library staff
Sources: DDN reports