Motorcycle Gang Member Convicted of Murder

Wednesday, February 8, 2023 at 9:22 AM

By Jefferson County Prosecutor's Office, news release

Michael Karnuth faces between 90 and 130 years in prison.

Michael Karnuth. Photo provided.

(Jefferson County, Ind.) - A North Vernon man is facing between 90 and 130 years in prison after being found guilty of murder and related charges in a 2021 gang shootout that resulted in the death of a gang member, said Jefferson County Prosecutor David R. Sutter.

Michael J. Karnuth was also convicted of Attempted Burglary Committed while Armed with a Deadly Weapon, Attempted Robbery Committed While Armed with a Deadly Weapon and Obstruction of Justice. Karnuth was also found to have been a member of a criminal organization while committing the offenses, and that he committed the offenses to further the interests of that criminal organization. 

“This case was the result of outstanding police work and the cooperation of many individuals and organizations in the community,” said Prosecutor Sutter. “This complicated case was brought to trial thanks to excellent work among many organizations.” 

Prosecutor Sutter thanked the Indiana State Police, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Jefferson County 911 Central Dispatch, the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office, the Dupont Fire Department, KDH EMS, the Jennings County Sheriff’s Department, the Ohio County Sheriff’s Department, the Rising Sun Police Department, the North Vernon Police Department, as well as the Hamilton County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Department, the Butler County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Department, and the Cincinnati Fugitive Task Force.

The trial featured testimony from ISP Crime Scene Investigators, ISP Detectives, ISP Dive Team Members, and Detectives and Officers from both the Indiana State Police and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

The jury trial began on January 30 in the Jefferson Circuit Court, and concluded February 6.

The case began June 22, 2021, when Dustin B. “Kutter” Lindner, 35, of Georgetown, Kentucky, was fatally wounded shortly after 4:00 a.m. on John Deere Road in Dupont. Lindner, a member of the Pagans motorcycle gang, was with Michael J. “Billy Goat” Karnuth, David K. “Karate Dave” Faulkner, Jason W. “Dutch” Brewer, and Gary W. “Mouth” Fletcher, members of the Warlocks motorcycle gang. 

The gang members were at John Deere Road with handguns, knives, and handcuffs to confront a man who they believed was displaying patches and tattoos of those clubs, but was not in fact a member. When the gang members approached the man’s residence, a shootout ensued and Linder was shot in the chest.

Evidence was presented at trial that Karnuth was the president of the Warlock Chapter known as the “Heavy Hitters”. 

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. The gang members met at Karnuth’s house prior to traveling to Dupont and made multiple trips to John Deere Road before the shooting. 

Following the shooting, the gang members left in two vehicles and crashed into each other on John Deere Road. The gang members disposed of firearms, gang paraphernalia, and attempted to dispose of a vehicle prior to being caught. Firearms were recovered in cornfields and in various bodies of water. Karnuth was arrested by the Indiana State Police while hiding at a known Warlock house in Rising Sun. 

Karnuth will now face the sentencing phase of the trial, scheduled for March 15 at 2:00 p.m.

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