Ron Stahlman

July 26, 2016

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Ron Stahlman

It is impossible not to compare the cold case arrest and treatment of a black man from Ohio named Leon “Stash” Dudley to the treatment in the cold case arrest of a white biker named Ronald Stahlman seven and a half years ago. And a comparison of the two cases illustrates the capriciousness of American criminal justice. Comparing the two cases may also illustrate something more.

The Aging Rebel reported on Dudley’s case yesterday. Police charge that about 2:30 a.m. on November 3, 1979 Dudley emerged from a car in the parking lot of a Houston nightclub with a gun. There is no indication that Dudley was threatened. Never-theless he grievously wounded a young, white man named Charles Eugene Philleo and murdered another young white man named Stephan Tramble Chambers whose father founded the Bandidos Motorcycle Club.

Dudley ran away, was indicted, and was eventually apprehended in Euclid, Ohio at the end of June. The prime evidence against Dudley seems be statements made by an unnamed witness who was with Dudley the night of the shooting. Dudley’s case has received little attention. He is now free on $30,000 bail and he has returned to Ohio. He is due back in court in Houston on September 8 and his lawyer, Catherine T. Samaan assured the Houston Chronicle the other day that her client is innocent.


Stahlman was arrested in Payson, Arizona in December 2008 with much greater publicity than has accompanied the Dudley case. He was accused of murdering a young, black man named Bernard Williamson, at about 3:30 in the morning, in Warren, Ohio – which is about 60 miles from Euclid – on April 29, 1979, which was 188 days before Stephan Chambers died.

What made Stahlman’s case sexy was the accusation that he was a member of the American Outlaw’s Association. What may attract attention to Dudley’s case is that the man he killed was the son of a famous biker.

Stahlman wasn’t an Outlaw. He was a member the Handful Motorcycle Club which eventually patched over to the Outlaws but he was never an Outlaw. He was a life-long biker. His father was a life-long biker. At the time Stahlman disappeared, he was riding a rigid frame, 1963 Panhead-Shovelhead hybrid with an open chain primary and a jockey shift. And, after he saw his son for the last time, Stahlman’s father sold the motorcycle to a member of the Outlaws with the condition that the new owner could never sell the bike to anybody but Ron – if Ron ever returned. And, Mr. Stahlman just assumed the man’s word was good.


The night Bernard Williamson died, Stahlman and another man named Roger Collins were drunk in Collins’ pickup truck. Collins, accidently rear-ended Williamson’s car. Collins staggered out to apologize. Williamson beat Collins to the ground. Stahlman staggered out to help his friend and within seconds either Collins or Stahlman stabbed Williamson nine times.

Stahlman fled to Arizona with his wife and daughters. Collins eventually turned himself in. He told police Stahlman had done it, pled guilty to assault and obstruction of justice and was punished with six months in county jail.

The Warren police reactivated the Williamson murder investigation in 2005 and a task force comprised of various police agencies finally arrested Stahlman on December 9, 2008. Stahlman was never Mirandized. Afterward, a U.S. Marshal named Peter J. Elliott said, “Violent fugitives, such as this, will continue to be sought and arrested no matter where they attempt to hide.” Stahlman was indicted at the end of the month.

Divorce Lawyer

Stahlman was assigned a public defender named Tracy Ann Laslo. She was a divorce lawyer who had never handled a major criminal case before. He was prosecuted by a district attorney named Christopher D. Becker who the Supreme Court of Ohio called guilty of “misconduct” in a previous murder case. Stahlman finally got a bail hearing in February. He told a judge named Andrew Logan he was innocent and Logan set his bond at $2 million.

Stahlman went on trial April 7. Becker’s opening statement began, “We have no evidence against Mr. Stahlman.” There was a camera crew in the courtroom. Stahlman thought they were from a local television station. They were from a production company shooting a documentary and the only person who did not know who they were was Stahlman. Stahlman thinks Becker was trying to generate publicity for his reelection.

The evidence against Stahlman was Collins’ word. He testified, “I got knocked down pretty quick. I think I was out, too, for a moment.” His arm was cut and he remembered Williamson “sitting there, leaning on the car, so I ran past him and got into the (pickup) cab.”


The men drove away. “We were going down the road,” Collins testified. “Ron was kind of upset. He says, ‘I think I might have stabbed that guy.’”

The case against Stahlman was so thin that in mid-trial Becker convinced Judge Logan to add “complicity to murder” to the charges against Stahlman.

At the time, a source told The Aging Rebel, “By the end of the first day Becker knew he couldn’t prove to a jury that Stahlman committed this crime (of murder.) So Becker asked the judge to add complicity to the charge. Complicity under Ohio law means ‘to aide, abed, or assist.’ And, since no was disputing the fact that Ronald Stahlman was there he was (automatically) guilty of complicity. Becker knew Stahlman would walk out of that courtroom a free man if he didn’t come up with something. So that’s why he came up with the charge of complicity.”

This Little Rag

The new charge carried a mandatory penalty of 15 years to life. So Stahlman, caved. He pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and on April 8, four months after he had been ripped from his old life, he was sentenced to one to ten years in state prison.

Becker defended the complicity charge to The Aging Rebel stating that, “conspiracy law permitted Stahlman to be charged as a complicitor, and in fact the State does not have to convict a principal offender.” He attacked “this little rag of a website’s” coverage of the Stahlman case. The coverage, Becker believed, was “very bitter” and had “a clear agenda against law and order.”

“So now he (Stahlman) can age and rebel in prison for a while,” Becker concluded.

Stahlman did not rebel. He “laid low” and did four years and three months at the Lorain Correctional Institution. While he was in prison, the production company that had filmed his trial tried to interview him. He refused. He was released from parole in 2015.

The Wind

One of the first things he did when he was free was buy back his old motorcycle. “After 35 years they kept their promise to my father” Stahlman wrote. “My mother and my old partners went and got my scooter back! It is hard to put a lifetime of bikes and brothers and family into a few paragraphs. It’s impossible. I grew up knowing only bikers.”

“I think being in prison is hardest on bikers,” he said. “I’ve been in the wind my whole life. Not riding was very depressing to me. I got my old bike back. Life is good again.”

Dudley may take hope from the joy Ron Stahlman feels after his long ordeal. Or maybe his case will be nothing like Stahlman’s.



16 Responses to “Ron Stahlman”

  1. Jake victor Kopp Says:

    My father VICTOR EARNEST KOPP. Was the founder of the handful motorcycle club

  2. Dee Pri Says:

    I used to be Ronny’s neighbor when we were kids. He was ALWAYS a nice guy and I would bet he was NOT guilty! For as long as I can remember, he was always picked on for his red hair or accused of something. The truth was, he was very, very laid back, and if someone said or did something, he never let it bother him. This wonderful person came with another mutual friend (Jack) and sat with me in the hospital after a very serious surgery. Does that sound like a cold-hearted killer? His mother and father were also wonderful people (brothers Bobby & Billy, too!)and the same way. Just because they all rode motorcycles does not make them sinister! I hope that he and Pam have a wonderful life and that the people that did this to him pay dearly! I also think that the court system down there needs rebuke for allowing this to happen! Good luck Ronny..hope you’re well! Thank you Aging Rebel for posting this and keeping after them with your reporting. Excellent job!

  3. Stray Says:

    Good read, Good story..too bad he lost that time but let him appreciate the time he does have, more

  4. Phuquehed Says:

    Sieg hit it on the head. That kind of honor is unfortunately too rare anymore.

    As for that fucktard Becker, he’s just another scumbag, corrupt piece of dog shit DA proving that the ‘law’ is anything but Just. Hey Becker, step off the curb into the path of a runaway garbage truck and fill in some of the cracks in the road, you useless air-waster.

  5. zero Says:

    The man needed a better lawyer. There should have been a statute of limitations on the bullshit charge they put him away with.

  6. 77sled Says:

    While I don’t always agree with commentors on this page. AR is a Great writer….. Also, Keeping the bike for 35 yrs and then getting it back to him shows me that honor is not dead in this world… good stuff.

  7. BMW Says:

    This sad situation really sums up a reality that few are willing to face. The Ohio Outlaws will fulfill an unsigned promise even THREE DECADES after it was made. The persecutor was unwilling to fulfill a formal oath of office made just before he violated it.

    Remember the story of the “Good Samaritan” in the Christian Bible? This seems a good parallel story.

    Which person should a just man seek to emulate? The Outlaws or the county persecutor? Seems clear to me!


  8. Fueliebob Says:

    When we see how Dudley’s case comes out it will be a classic example of “white privilege”.

    The good news in all this is at least the guy who bought Stahlman’s scoot was stand up so Ron got his scoot back. Living up to one’s word is not something you find much of today, a throwback to the old days.

    Ride free Ron!

  9. Rocco151 Says:


    A wise man once wrote “your reputation is what others think you are…your character is what you really are” ! I’d say that keeping a guy’s bike in working order after such a length of time and honoring his father’s request of only selling it back to only him shows character and honor ! If only more groups were of this kind of solid stock !

  10. Rebel Says:

    Dear Sieg,

    Yeah I thought the thing about the bike was very touching. That’s the bike in the photo at the top of the story.


  11. Sieg Says:

    So, the O’s kept his sled in one piece, and after 35 years, got it back to him. THAT’S the most impressive part of the story. Honor-you can’t fake it.

    Oh, and the pig Becker? He’ll get his…may take another 35 years, but he’ll get his.


  12. Michael MacCleary Says:

    Welcome back home Mr Stahlman, Prison sucks,as for that DA
    Unfortunately he is the norm,not so much the exception.Keep ur
    Head on straight,and good shit will come ur way. As for that creampuff
    that flipped,It’ll com back round,somebody somewhere gonna throw
    that punk a beating,well deserved beatn so again welcome back,

  13. Bone Head Says:

    So Becker didn’t like you or your website? Gee that must have broke your heart. Next time he gets his tit in a wringer, maybe you should report on him?
    Happy Stahlman is free and breathing wind again.

  14. Nobody Important Says:

    Well, it’s a happy ending… of sorts…

  15. Dan-O Says:

    Wow. Such hostility, DA Becker. Something Rebel wrote must have really touched a nerve. Either that or you’re just an immoral, unethical piece of shit DA. Wouldn’t be the first.

  16. ak rack Says:

    Seems to me Mr. Becker is the one with “a clear agenda against law and order”. The only agenda I’ve detected on this website is to tell the unvarnished truth about the sadistic American legal system that continues to grow more oppressive and capricious by the day.

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