A Trumbull County, Ohio grand jury has indicted Ronald Stahlman, 56 for the April 29, 1979 murder of 18-year-old Bernard Williamson. The jury returned the indictment December 30th.
Stahlman was 26-years-old and riding with the American Outlaws Association, also known as the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, when he and an unknown number of unknown associates allegedly stabbed Williamson nine times in the chest and stomach.
Williamson was found in the middle of the intersection of Main Avenue and Fulton Street in Warren, Ohio at 3:30 in the morning. He was dead. The Trumbull County coroner ruled his death a homicide. Warren is in Northeastern Ohio, near Youngstown, about halfway between Pittsburgh and Lake Erie.
No motive for the crime has ever been alleged. For reasons that have never been publically stated, Stahlman became a suspect in Williamson’s death. And, when a murder warrant was issued for his arrest he ran away.
Stahlman wound up in Phoenix and started a new life. He changed his name to James O’Neil, settled in suburban Payson, got married and had two children. No one seems to know or care how he turned out. No one seems to know or care what Bernard Williamson might have made of his life or if he was missed.
What everyone remembered was that Stahlman had been an Outlaw, that he had been charged with murder and that he seemed to have gotten away.
Cold Case Reopened
The modern police state started hunting for Stahlman in 2005. Crime in Warren declined to such an extent that a detective named Brian Holmes was assigned to work cold cases. A former Warren Detective named Bill Bolden, who had joined the U.S. Marshals Service, got his agency to activate the case. The Marshals, in turn, enlisted the aid of an new police agency called the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force.
The Warren cold case cop found a snitch who knew that Stahlman had moved to Phoenix and changed his name to James O’Neil. All three agencies continued to investigate and a mere four years later they finally got Stahlman’s address.
Stahlman was arrested December 9th by U.S. Marshals, and officers assigned to something called the Arizona WANTED Task Force and by members of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force who selflessly sacrificed the cheery Ohio winter for several days in the grim Arizona sun.
Afterward, spokesmen for all agencies involved congratulated each other for their outstanding police work.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins thought it was “gratifying to see the work the Warren Police Department and the United States Marshals Service put into this case. .”
Warren Police Chief John Mandopoulos wanted taxpayers to know that, “Whenever the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force works on a case it is a total team effort and that is what makes this partnership so great.”
And, United States Marshal Peter J. Elliott issued a statement that bragged that “The cooperation between our task force partners continues to benefit all of the communities in Northern Ohio and across the country by effectively locating and apprehending those that evade the law. Violent fugitives, such as this, will continue to be sought and arrested no matter where they attempt to hide.”
Stahlman is currently in jail in Phoenix. He faces 15 years to life in prison. No one seems to know or care if his wife and children miss him or if they are glad he is gone.