“Billy Goat,” the 34-year-old president of the “Heavy Hitters” chapter within the Warlocks Motorcycle Club, faces 90 to 130 years in state prison for his role in the 2021 shootout death of a member of the Pagans Motorcycle Club, prosecutors in Jefferson County, Indiana, announced.
Indiana court records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Michael J. Karnuth of North Vernon was convicted Monday of murder, attempted burglary committed while armed with a deadly weapon, attempted robbery while armed with a deadly weapon, and obstruction of justice. According to Jefferson County Prosecutor David R. Sutter, Karnuth and four others plotted to rob and beat a man for sporting tattoos and patches without actually being a member of their clubs.
“Karnuth had previously seen the man with the phony tattoos and patches at a gas station in North Vernon. Karnuth traveled to Philadelphia to obtain information about the man before planning the attack,” prosecutors said in a press release. “The gang members met at Karnuth’s house prior to traveling to Dupont and made multiple trips to John Deere Road before the shooting.”
According to the detailed affidavit, evidence showed that bikers were so enraged by the victim’s fake “rags” and patches that they went on to express their displeasure up close and personal in the real world, not just in their WhatsApp group chat.
But when the crime unfolded on June 22, 2021, however, the target wasn’t the one who ended up dead. Dustin B. “Kutter” Lindner, a 35-year-old member of the Pagans, was shot and killed by the target, prosecutors said. The others accused of involvement in the shootout — 54-year-old David K. “Karate Dave” Faulkner, 36-year-old Jason W. “Dutch” Brewer, and 42-year-old Gary W. “Mouth” Fletcher — were identified members of the Warlocks.
Brewer went on to fill in the gaps for law enforcement.
“Brewer stated that Lindner said that they were going to, ‘get down there, beat the s— out of that guy, take his s—, and leave,'” the affidavit said, describing exchanges between the bikers prior to the incident. “Following Lindner’s speech, Brewer stated that Karnuth had handed him two firearms and that Karnuth wanted Brewer to carry them because he was ‘legal.'”
“Brewer said that he inquired as to why they needed guns if they were just going to ‘beat his ass,’ and that Karnuth responded that he was prepared to shoot back, if needed. Brewer stated that Kamuth instructed him to leave his cell phone at the residence during the commission of the crime because it could be traced by law enforcement,” the documents added. “Brewer advised law enforcement that the group at Karnuth’s residence had discussed that [the target] had tattoos associated with the Warlock Motorcycle Club and […] also had a ‘cut’ (vest associated with motorcycle clubs) that had a patch for the Pagan Motorcycle Club. Brewer stated that they were going to get the ‘cut’ and ensure that the Rudis’s tattoos associated with motorcycle clubs were removed.”
That’s not what ended up happening.
Both previous public reporting and the publicly available probable cause affidavit in the case identified the victim as Shawn Rudis. Rudis told investigators he shot Lindner with a .223 rifle after he saw the defendants with guns in hand and heard them looking for him. Apparently, Lindner opened the tarp to the shed Rudis was hiding in. That decision had eternal consequences:
Rudis remained in the shed, and saw a shadow begin to open a tarp that was covering the entrance of the shed. Rudis stated that he then fired a shot towards the shadow and that he heard a groan. He stated that he didn’t hear anything else for what he believed to be a couple of minutes, and then multiple shots were fired into the shed. Rudis stated that he then called 911. While he was on the phone with 911, Rudis stated that he fired off an additional shot in the direction of one of the vehicles. (Officers located a bullet hole in the Chevrolet Cruze consistent with Rudis’s statement). Rudis stated that bullets were coming from the direction of the vehicles. He stated that he started screaming at them and that after a while the vehicles left.
The victim further told investigators that he first encountered Karnuth at a gas station around two weeks before the shooting and they exchanged numbers, to his regret:
While at the gas station, he spoke to a male subject that he referred to as “Billy Goat” about his affiliation with the Warlock Motorcycle Club. Rudis told officers that he exchanged phone numbers with “Billy Goat”. During their conversation, Rudis showed “Billy Goat” his tattoos associated with the Warlock Motorcycle Club and was, by his own admission, antagonistic towards “Billy Goat”. Rudis stated that during their conversation, “Billy Goat” indicated that he was going to be president of the Warlocks soon. Rudis stated that “Billy Goat” later contacted him in an effort to meet. Rudis said that although the male subject ensured his safety, he had reservations and ultimately blocked the subject’s number.
As of Wednesday, Faulkner’s case remains pending, court records say. Trial is set for April.
Brewer pleaded guilty to attempted robbery last July, records show. His sentencing was recently moved to Feb. 22. Fletcher similarly pleaded guilty last July, but to the charge of attempted burglary committed while armed with a deadly weapon. His sentencing is set for Feb. 24.
Jordan Lowe, a.k.a., Pooh Bear, 27, who the affidavit described as “Billy Goat’s” girlfriend, was charged with assisting a criminal and obstruction of justice.
During the course of this investigation, law enforcement viewed Lowe’s Facebook profile. Lowe has a photograph on her profile of a subject wearing a vest with markings associated with motorcycle club activity. The vest states, “Property of Billy Goat Indiana.”
She pleaded guilty at the end of November 2022 to felony assistance of a criminal. Her sentencing is currently set for Feb. 17.
Court records show Karnuth’s sentencing was set for 2 p.m. on March 15.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]