Murder Suspect Hid In Payson For 14 Years

Man wanted in death of Ohio man arrested after 29 years on the run



Courtesy of U.S. Marshals office

Ronald Stahlman


Courtesy of U.S. Marshals office

Ronald Stahlman in 1979.

A Payson man, who allegedly stabbed a man to death in Ohio nearly 30 years ago and then started a new life with a new name in Arizona, was arrested Monday morning by U.S. Marshals with the help of Gila County Narcotics Task Force officers.

Back in 1979, a warrant was issued for Ronald Stahlman, now 55, for homicide. Stahlman, then a member of the Outlaws Motor Club, and some friends were allegedly involved in an assault in Warren, Ohio that ended with a man stabbed to death.

Shortly after the warrant was issued, Stahlman fled Ohio and had not been seen since.

In 2005, Deputy U.S. Marshals and officers with the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Forces (NOVFTF) started searching for Stahlman. Two weeks ago, they learned that Stahlman had started a new life in Arizona under the name James O’Neil.

U.S. Marshals public affairs officer Matt Hershey said NOVFTF came across the alias after Stahlman and his two daughters changed their names.

“They came across the alias and followed the paper trail here,” Hershey said.

For years, officers believe Stahlman lived throughout the Valley before settling in Payson around 1994.

Stahlman lived with his wife on Ash Street and had two daughters living in the area, said Sgt. Terry Lincoln.

Authorities don’t believe Stahlman held a steady job, but did odd jobs in the area.

After U.S. Marshals determined Stahlman was living in the Rim Country, they asked the Gila County Task Force to investigate Stahlman further. After determining O’Neil was Stahlman, authorities from Ohio flew to Arizona for the arrest.

On Dec. 8, officers from the Payson Police Department, NOVFTF, U.S. Marshals, Gila County Task Force and DPS detectives arrested Stahlman at his home in Payson without incident.

“We confronted him with his true identity and he admitted it was him,” Hershey said.

Stahlman is awaiting extradition back to Ohio in a Valley jail.

“The U.S. Marshals Service, with our state and local partners, will pursue violent fugitives no matter how far or long their run from the law is,” said U.S. Marshal David Gonzales.


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