FARGO — A man serving a life sentence in federal prison for the killing of a U.S. marshal and a deputy marshal is asking to be freed after contracting COVID-19.
Scott Faul, now 67, and tax protester Gordon Kahl, along with Kahl's son, Yorie, were involved in a shootout with law enforcement officers near Medina, N.D., in February 1983.
The shootout erupted after officers tried to serve Kahl, who had been convicted of tax evasion, with a probation violation warrant.
Two marshals died in the shootout and two other law enforcement officers were wounded, as was Kahl's son, Yorie. Gordon Kahl escaped after the shootout, but later died in a confrontation with law enforcement officers in Arkansas.
Faul was convicted of second-degree murder of federal officers and other charges, and was sentenced to life in prison. Yorie Kahl is also serving a life sentence for his conviction on charges similar to Faul's.
In recently filed court papers seeking "compassionate release," Faul said he has been incarcerated since 1983 and has received very little medical treatment over the years. He added that he suffers from breathing issues and that his age puts him at greater risk of suffering complications from COVID-19.
Faul tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 11 and recovered from what appeared to have been a mild case, according to papers filed in U.S. District Court by U.S. Attorney for North Dakota Drew Wrigley.
"Faul cannot meet his burden to show the risk to him from contracting COVID-19 is an extraordinary and compelling reason warranting consideration of a sentence reduction when he has already contracted the virus and recovered," Wrigley stated in his answer to Faul's request for release.
Wrigley also said that granting release would profoundly undermine respect for the law, and he added that Faul, who is being held in federal prison in Sandstone, Minn., is unrepentant and expresses deep-seated disdain for the justice system.
The Sandstone prison had six active COVID-19 cases among inmates and nine among staff as of Thursday, Jan. 7, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.