Four members of the Iron Horsemen Motorcycle Club are scheduled to be tried by County Judge Scott T. Gusweiler in Brown County, Ohio on January 30.
Wesley Alan Gibson, Robert Steven Bowling, John A. McIntosh Jr, and Franklin Delano Griffith III are accused of beating a doorman named H. Cohen Baker at an Aberdeen, Ohio bar named Jethro’s Tiki Club about 1:30 in the morning last April 17. Aberdeen is southeast of Cincinnati.
Baker, the alleged victim, was convicted of sexual misconduct with a child in Lawton, Oklahoma in May 2014 while serving in the Army at Fort Sill. He is required to register as a sex offender in Ohio. He lost an appeal of that conviction a month after the assault at Jethro’s. He was never incarcerated.
According to police, Baker had previously refused to let the men into the bar until they removed their club vests. They declined and returned around closing time. The four are all charged with participating in a criminal gang; felonious assault with a criminal gang specification; aggravated riot with a criminal gang activity specification; misdemeanor assault; aggravated trespass; and criminal trespass. Bowling is also charged with an additional count of felony assault and being a repeat, violent offender.
The assault lasted about two minutes. All four men are free on bond.
A fifth defendant, Lawrence Wayne Allen Jr., was charged with the same offenses, pled guilty to a single count of aggravated riot last August and was sentenced to two years probation.
The Iron Horsemen was founded in Cincinnati and has chapters in a dozen states. The current case has been sensationalized in the Cincinnati press which has maintained a morbid fascination with the club for years. In 2015, the Iron Horsemen opened a new clubhouse in the Price Hill section of the city. The city responded by raiding the house with Swat and sued to shutter the building because it allegedly “interfered with the public right to health, safety, peace and comfort, thereby (creating) a public nuisance.” Rather than fighting a long and expensive court case the club moved out.
That brouhaha was clearly a manifestation of public hysteria, largely fueled by Cincinnati television station WKRC. At the time the suit was filed, an Assistant City Solicitor named Mark Manning admitted: “The city obviously wants the building fixed but we also want the Iron Horsemen to not use this as a clubhouse so that’s part of our entire intent here. They moved this clubhouse up here earlier this year, I know the police department’s been very concerned about it. The community has been very concerned about it, so we want to make sure we respond to those concerns.”
The current criminal case is being prosecuted by Zachary A. Corbin (photo above) who is seven years out of law school at Northern Kentucky University and who took office as Brown County Prosecutor three weeks ago. Corbin had previously spent four years as an assistant prosecutor.
In an interview last June, Corbin told WKRC that he thinks it is important to prosecute the case because “according to the (gang) experts” he has talked to the assault occurred because the motorcycle club came to Aberdeen, Ohio to “test the waters and see if they can come in and assert their control over these territories. And if you let it go…if you let it go unchecked it’s just going to grow. Because that’s what they want to do. They want to establish control of these sorts of places.”