Member of Iron Coffins Motorcycle Club Becomes First Casualty of 2012 In Battle Creek Party Dustup
Police say a 45-year-old man is dead following a dustup at a motorcycle club in Battle Creek, MI over the holiday weekend.
Leroy Taylor of Battle Creek was pronounced dead some time around 6 a.m. Sunday at the Iron Coffin Motorcycle Club and Police say a 32-year-old man, who himself suffered a stab wound, is in custody and could be charged with murder. The injured man, Mathew Thomas Starkweather, was treated at an area hospital. Starkweather was arrested on charges of open murder on Sunday following the fight at the Iron Coffins Motorcycle Club.
Starkweather was charged in the death of Leroy Taylor, 45, of Battle Creek, who was killed in an altercation early Sunday morning at the Iron Coffin Motorcycle Club location at 15 Gilbert St.
The Iron Coffins Clubhouse in Toledo, Ohio – Photo by Ben French
Detective Sgt. Austin Simons of the Battle Creek Police Department said the cause of Taylor’s death has yet to be determined.
“The medical examiner hasn’t been there yet,” Simons said. “We can tell he’s (Taylor) got some trauma to the face.”
Witnesses say Taylor’s wife was present during the altercation.
Authorities say Starkweather was transported to Bronson Battle Creek, where he was treated for a stab wound and released. After conducting their initial investigation, police filed the charges against Starkweather and booked him into the Calhoun County Jail.
The incident marks the first homicide of 2012 in Battle Creek.
The Iron Coffins aren’t generally associated with criminal activity in the area and members say the group has worked to help eradicate the motorcycle gang stereotype through charitable acts and sponsorships.
“We originated out of (Toledo) Ohio, and we branched out to have chapters all over the place,” said the President of the Washtenaw County Iron Coffins chapter. “Out here, we like to do a lot for kids – years ago, we used to do a toy run out to Mott Children’s Hospital. This year, we’re going to adopt families for Christmas, and stuff like that.”
The club closed down five years ago when dwindling membership and high rent on the club’s Michigan Avenue clubhouse forced them to disband, but the motorcycle recently reformed and found new digs in Ypsilanti.
According to their website, The Iron Coffins MotorCycle Club was formed in 1966 in the north end of Toledo, as the Chosen Few. They then moved to Point Place and changed the group’s name to theIron Coffins M/C. The design of the club’s center patch was created by bike and car customizer “Big Daddy” Roth.