Shaw: Shooter serving life in prison for Medina shootout denied parole

Scott Faul is serving a life sentence for his part in a shooting that left a U.S. marshal and deputy marshal dead.

A mustached man with dark hair and dark eyes in a polo shirt.
Scott Faul.
Forum file photo

SANDSTONE, Minn. — Convicted murderer Scott Faul, 69, has been denied parole by the U.S. Parole Commission. Federal prosecutors, the U.S. Marshals Service and relatives of Faul’s victims were notified of the decision on Friday, Feb. 3.

Faul and Yorie Kahl, 63, are serving life sentences for the shooting deaths of a U.S. marshal and a deputy marshal outside Medina, North Dakota, on Feb. 13, 1983. Three other law enforcement officers were wounded in that confrontation, as was Yorie Kahl.

Yorie Kahl’s father, tax protester Gordon Kahl, was wanted for violating his probation. When marshals attempted to arrest Gordon Kahl, the shooting began. Prosecutors and witnesses said Faul fired at least six shots.

U.S. Marshal Ken Muir, of Fargo, and Deputy Marshal Robert Cheshire, of Bismarck, were shot to death. Deputy Marshal James Hopson, of Bismarck, Stutsman County Deputy Sheriff Brad Kapp and Medina Police Officer Steve Schnabel were also shot.

Gordon Kahl, who fired many shots, escaped from Medina. Four months later, he was found hiding in a house in Smithville, Arkansas. Gordon Kahl and Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Matthews fired at each other, and both were shot dead.


A few months ago, Faul wrote a letter to The Forum claiming he did not have a fair trial, saying he was wrongfully convicted and sharply criticizing the federal government.

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Five law enforcement officers were injured and another was traumatized by the horrors of the 1983 Medina shootout. Surviving officers and family members share their pain.
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Federal prosecutors are pleased with the decision to deny parole to Faul.

“Rather than expressing remorse for the murders he was convicted of, he believes he was ‘unlawfully attacked by murderous thugs,’” said North Dakota U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider, who argued against Faul’s release from prison.

“Mr. Faul’s words are deeply insulting to the victims of his crimes and to their families," he said. "His attempt to somehow cast himself as the victim is a refusal to accept responsibility of the highest order. This is compelling evidence of his likelihood to reoffend.”

If Faul was granted parole, he would have been put on probation. Schneider said he doubts Faul would have followed the rules of his probation, similar to Gordon Kahl’s actions.

“The United States Attorney’s Office has grave concerns that Mr. Faul will not peacefully subject himself to the authority of the U.S. Probation Service in the event he is released. In fact, his refusal to accept the legitimacy of his convictions, and his refusal to accept the authority of federal law enforcement in general, gives us no reason to believe he would now accept the federally imposed terms of his release.”

Schneider said it’s too risky to release Faul.

“Mr. Faul is not a changed man,” Schneider said. “He is at exactly the same point he was 40 years ago. He is dangerous and likely to commit a crime, just like he was on Feb.
13, 1983.”


Faul had a parole hearing on Jan. 25 that was closed to the public. Two members of the Muir family attended that hearing and said Faul walked out of the hearing a few minutes after it started.

“I am pleased with the decision,” said Richard Muir, son of murdered marshal Ken Muir. “He’s still brainwashed from Gordon Kahl. He has not shown any remorse for his awful crimes. He has no respect for the U.S. government. He should be in prison forever.”

Deputy Marshal Hopson was shot in the head and ear. He suffered severe brain injuries, which limited his ability to talk, comprehend, walk, hear, see or smell. He died in 2004 at age 79.

Hopson’s family said denying parole to Faul was the right decision.

“I am very happy about this decision,” said Gary Hopson, son of James Hopson. “He hasn’t repented about what he did. If he was let out of prison, he would just do the same thing again. He and the others were premeditated murderers. It’s great to see the justice system working.”

“It’s the right decision,” said Joan Kowalski, daughter of James Hopson. “It’s all about choices and consequences. Faul should stay behind bars because of the decisions and actions he undertook that day in February of 1983.”

Faul was unavailable for comment. He remains incarcerated at the federal prison in Sandstone, Minnesota. He will be eligible again for parole in two years.

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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