The greatest American mystery novelist was a man named Ross MacDonald who lost his mind and died in 1983. None of his plots were ever obvious. His stories always involved the baring of dark, antique and sometimes institutionalized secrets. In his last novel, MacDonald’s cynical and softhearted hero concluded, “We’re all guilty.”
Joshua “Chewy” Embry, was stabbed in the heart and died 51 weeks ago outside a country bar in the college town of Bloomington, Illinois. And, the investigation into his murder is starting to read like a Ross MacDonald novel.
Embry was a physically imposing, 300 pound, 26-year-old man who was not known to sell or use drugs. He was a member in good standing of one of the most respectfully regarded motorcycle clubs in the world, the Outlaws. He was stabbed in front of at least 30 witnesses. The murder was recorded on as many as four surveillance cameras.
And, five days after his murder a man named Joshua McGuire was arrested and charged with homicide. While in jail, McGuire was severely beaten but not, apparently, by anyone connected to the American Outlaws Association (AOA) or any other motorcycle club.
Was It Outlaws
McGuire was scheduled to stand trial for the murder on November 16th. The witness list contained at least 100 names.
On October 24th, police raided the clubhouse of the McLean County (Illinois) chapter, Embry’s chapter, of the Outlaws. According to the local paper, the Bloomington Pantagraph, “police seized several items of evidence…as part of an investigation into the stabbing death of Joshua Embry.”
Joshua Embry’s father is a biker named Robert “Scrappy” Embry. His only association with the Outlaws is that his dead son used to be one. And, although the police seem determined to tie the Outlaws to the crime, Robert Embry has never given any indication that he suspects the AOA was responsible for his son’s murder.
An unsubstantiated but persistent, unpublished rumor in Bloomington is that Embry was stabbed while trying to defend another Outlaw. Robert Embry told the Pantagraph earlier this year that his son, “…was not directly involved in the dispute between members of the Outlaws and others who may have been members of a local street gang, but he was standing with other Outlaws when the brawl started.”
Robert Embry has spent most of the last year trying to unravel the mystery of his son’s death. He has said publically that if McGuire did kill his son he did not act alone. He has never publically stated the name of the “street gang” that killed his son or what that “street gang’s” dispute with the Outlaws might have been.
However Robert Embry has filed suit against two bars in downtown Bloomington for serving drinks to his son’s killers. And, in that suit he names, along with McGuire, men named Dennis Hendricks, Josh Hendricks, Trevor Hendricks, Josh Williams and Aaron Claycomb.
Persistent, loud, unpublished gossip in Bloomington accuses “the Hendricks,” among other things, of being local badasses who sell drugs. The same rumors connect all six men named in Robert Embry’s lawsuit of an ongoing business or social association.
Last Tuesday, all charges were dismissed against Joshua McGuire and he was released from jail. The McLean County State’s Attorney, Bill Yoder, issued a statement that explained that “additional information has developed during the ongoing investigation that warranted dismissal of the murder charges against McGuire at this time.”
The next day, November 4th, would have been Joshua Embry’s 27th birthday.
Last Thursday, numerous comments about the case appeared on a local, Bloomington bulletin board.
“Why is everyone referring to them as the H boys,” one poster provocatively asked. “I don’t understand why anyone would be afraid of them. But I did hear they were snitchs (sic) for the police. Maybe that is why nothing has been done to them.”
Another poster asked, “…is the H boys going to have his (McGuire’s) back since he is out now?”
Another poster rose to the Hendricks’ defense. “Just because the H family was in this fight,” the local citizen wondered, “Why is it that they are the killer, what about the other people that were there, how is it that you all have this put on them?”
Yesterday, Saturday, November 7th, according to a plausible but unsubstantiated report, Joshua McGuire was hospitalized for a drug overdose.
And as of today, Sunday November 8th, there are no publically named suspects in Joshua Embry’s murder. Maybe we are all guilty.