The Wilmington shootout
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 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.
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."
Murder chargesOn 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:
MANHUNT ON AFTER WILMINGTON SHOOTOUT
Published: Sunday, February 16, 1997 Page: 1A
By: By Wendy Hundley DAYTON DAILY NEWS
SHOOTOUT SUSPECTS INDICTED
ONE STEP AHEAD OF THE LAW
AUTHORITIES NAB 2ND FUGITIVE
TRAIL TIES KEHOES, SLAYINGS
CHEYNE KEHOE GETS 24 YEARS
CHEVIE KEHOE PLEADS GUILTY
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