Trail of Death Follows White Supremacist Gang Led by Chevie Kehoe

Trail of death follows white supremacist gang

Timothy McVeigh in the Shadows
A tantalizing connection also emerged at The Shadows.

In early 1995, the former manager recalls, a man resembling Timothy McVeigh met Kehoe at The Shadows. The manager also says that Kehoe showed up hours before the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing and excitedly demanded that the manager turn on the CNN news channel, a hint that Kehoe had advance knowledge of McVeigh's plan.

The Shadows' former manager is not the only one to place McVeigh at the motel. A Spokane couple claims that a white supremacist who is now accused of molesting their children told them that he'd met McVeigh at the motel.

But the FBI has been unable to establish that McVeigh was ever at the motel — or, indeed, anywhere in the Pacific Northwest prior to the Oklahoma bombing.

It may not have been coincidence that The Shadows is a few steps from a bar that was one of Mathews' favorites hangouts in 1983 and 1984. (The bar also once hosted Madonna, who starred in a high school wrestling movie filmed there.)

But instead of drinking or spending much time at the bar his hero frequented, Chevie, or "Bud," as friends called him, seemed to prefer spending his time at the motel, regularly smoking marijuana.

Chevie wasn't the only Kehoe to occasionally live at The Shadows. His father, Kirby Keith Kehoe, and other members of his family apparently did so as well, frequently traveling 60 miles north to Colville, Wash., where the family once lived.

Officials say that Chevie and his father supported themselves while based in Spokane by brazenly selling some of the stolen Mueller firearms at gun shows around the country — a dangerous practice that may ultimately have led to the undoing of the Kehoe gang.

The first stolen weapon to surface in the case was a .45-caliber Colt pistol that authorities now say was Nancy Mueller's personal handgun. Seattle police seized the gun in February 1996 when they arrested a suspected drug user who was spotted carrying the gun in a pawn shop.

The man later told investigators that he got the gun from Kirby Kehoe, who was secretly indicted in Spokane in June 1997 for possessing the stolen firearm.

That revelation was the first break for state and federal investigators who jointly were investigating the Mueller murders. But it would be another 17 months before Chevie Kehoe and other alleged gang members were behind bars.

A life of Extremism
The Kehoe saga began long before.

Chevie Kehoe was born on Jan. 29, 1973, in Orange Park, Fla., to Kirby and his wife, Gloria. His name, a family friend who lives in Spokane recalls, came from a family preoccupation. "His father was a real good mechanic and particularly liked Chevrolets, and that's why they named their first son Chevie," the friend said.

The elder Kehoe was a Vietnam veteran, whose dislike and distrust for the federal government intensified as Chevie was growing up. Chevie, Cheyne and the six other brothers who followed sometimes attended public schools, but mostly were home-schooled by their parents, who deeply distrusted public education.

Chevie listened and learned.

The family was itinerant, with the parents building pole barns, planting trees and doing other jobs — mostly just getting by in the underground economy that attracts so many in the extremist movement. They lived in Florida, Arkansas and elsewhere before moving to northeastern Washington state, near the Canadian border, in the late 1980s.

Somewhere along the way, the elder Kehoes connected with the Christian Identity belief that whites are the true Israelites, God's chosen people, who have a moral obligation to fight for the preservation of their race. They heard the Identity message, which also emphasizes that Jews are the children of Satan, at Elohim City, the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations compound in Idaho and a small church called The Ark, north of Colville.

In his mid-teens, Kehoe met Jake Settle, a former Marine and ex-cop who was living in the area. Settle, who frequented the Aryan Nations compound with his wife, Susan, shared the Kehoe family's Identity beliefs. As Chevie matured, he became somewhat estranged from his father and came to see Settle as his mentor. "He really liked Jake and looked up to him as a big brother, even a dad," a former friend recalls.

Polygamy and the Chosen People
In the early 1990s, Chevie and his family began visiting Aryan Nations, where they listened to the Identity teachings of leader Richard Butler. A decade earlier, Butler had been the inspiration for Mathews, Bruce Carroll Pierce, David Lane, Gary Yarbrough, David Tate and other young men who soon grew tired of merely listening to Butler's hate-filled speeches and decided to take action by secretly forming The Order.

Ultimately, Chevie would decide to avoid the mistakes of Mathews, whose downfall came largely because of the size of his group, which numbered more than 30. Following the strategy of "leaderless resistance," Chevie allegedly kept his group of Aryan warriors much smaller, determined to avoid the attention of the authorities.

As he grew toward manhood, Chevie became increasingly interested in polygamy, arguing that it was accepted in biblical times and permitted under the Identity doctrine, according to the federal indictment. He told friends and family that it was his obligation to enhance the population of the white race by having multiple wives and as many children as possible.

Ultimately, the indictment says, he saw the practice of polygamy as vital to building the Aryan Peoples Republic that he envisioned.

Soon enough, he was turning those words into action.

In 1993, Susan Settle introduced her 18-year-old sister, Angie, to Chevie, who by then was married to Karina Gumm. Chevie later went to Angie's house in Spokane, hoping she could supply him marijuana. Before the encounter ended, Angie had agreed to become Chevie's second wife in a polygamous relationship that lasted less than two months.

Chevie took both wives to the 1993 Aryan World Congress, an annual event hosted by the Aryan Nations, apparently hoping to impress others that his polygamous ways would help ensure the vitality of the white race. While there, Kehoe assaulted Karina, who was seven months pregnant.

She suffered a black eye and a bloody lip, apparently because she was having trouble accepting her role in Chevie's polygamous family.