Some 40 years later, a man involved in the 1983 shootout seeks his release from prison.
That man is Scott Faul, who was with Kahl when U.S. Marshals attempted to execute a warrant for a misdemeanor parole violation, which stemmed from charges against Kahl for refusing to file his tax returns. Kahl did not “owe” any taxes, and his supporters say the federal government was targeting him due to his outspoken belief that the income tax was unconstitutional and a central tenant of the Communist Manifesto.
On the day of the shootout, U.S. Marshals and local law enforcement had formed a roadblock to capture Kahl in North Dakota. What happened next remains in dispute: The government claims that Faul, Kahl and his son, Yorie Von Kahl, killed two U.S. Marshals in cold blood, while the tax resisters said they acted in self-defense.
Faul maintains his innocence 40 years later, but a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in June 1983, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Yorie Von Kahl, who was shot by law enforcement—in what many argue was the first shot fired—was also given life imprisonment.
Gordon Kahl, for his part, went on the lam after the shootout and was killed by law enforcement in Arkansas months later. Kahl’s supporters say he was murdered by law enforcement—as indicated by a single execution-style shot to the back of his head.
A more complete account of these series of incidents can be found in James Corcoran’s book, Bitter Harvest: Gordon Kahl and the Posse Comitatus Murder in the Heartland, as well as the documentary Death and Taxes. Records about the saga of Kahl can also be found at ihatethefbi.com.
Headline USA recently discovered that last November, Faul filed a petition for habeas corpus, arguing that he’s entitled to parole by law.
Faul said in his petition that his first parole hearing was in 2002, at which time he was told that he’d have to serve another 10 years in prison. Faul said he was parolled from his life sentence in 2013, but still had to serve another 10 years for the charge of forcibly assaulting or impeding federal officers by deadly weapon.
In January, Faul was reportedly denied parole by the U.S. Parole Commission on the grounds that the 70-year-old man might reoffend. According to court records, Faul refused to participate in the hearing.
“Rather than expressing remorse for the murders he was convicted of, he believes he was ‘unlawfully attacked by murderous thugs,’” North Dakota U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider, who argued against Faul’s release from prison, reportedly said in February.
But on Feb. 21, Faul made another filing in relation to his petition for habeas corpus. Again, he argued that he’s “entitled to immediate release on parole because he has served 40 years on his sentence and the Parole Commission’s recent action is legally insufficient to block Faul’s mandatory parole.”
“Faul was 30 years old on Feb. 13, 1983. He is now 70. Faul has served the time required by our law,” he argued. “It is time for him to go home.”
A hearing date for Faul’s petition has yet to be set, and no other actions appear on the docket since Faul’s Feb. 21 filing. Earlier filings indicate that the government will attempt to keep him and Yorie Von Kahl in prison for the rest of their lives.
Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.