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TBT: The Short North Posse – Columbus’ most notorious gang




To look at the Short North in 2019, it’s hard to imagine that it was once the stomping grounds of one of the most notorious and violent street gangs in Columbus history. Though the area is hardly free from crime today, nothing matches the scope and intensity of the offenses brought to bear on the neighborhood by the Short North Posse in the 1990s.

For those unaware of the Posse and its reputation, Columbus Monthly once called the nationally-known street gang “the biggest, baddest, gun-totingest, drug-slingingest, most murderous bunch in town.” The group’s activities were serious enough to draw the attention of local and federal authorities, resulting in over 60 arrests of posse members, many of which carried hefty sentences.

According to court records, the Short North Posse was formed by a group of cocaine dealers who wanted to carve out an area of Columbus as their own turf – the area just north of downtown Columbus. Like any gang, the Posse offered protection to its members while keeping rival gangs and drug dealers at bay.

Though its members were eventually proven guilty of everything from drug charges to racketeering and murder, some claim The Short North Posse were simply administering their own brand of street justice in a neighborhood that had long been neglected by polite society.

Utilizing undercover detectives and covert drug stings, Columbus Police began targeting gang activity in the Short North area in 1993. By May of 1994, the scope of the investigation expanded to include federal authorities.


In March of 1995, a sweeping federal investigation resulted in more than 200 charges from drug dealing to money laundering being leveled against alleged Posse members. More than 40 members of the gang were arrested and tried, with many receiving maximum sentences.

In spite of these wide-ranging convictions, the Short North Posse was far from finished, as a new generation of members stepped up to replace those who were incarcerated. Two more major waves of arrests followed, with ten more Posse members facing charges in 2006.

19 additional arrests in 2010 effectively marked the end of the Posse’s presence as a criminal force in the city. Of the 19 charged, 13 pleaded guilty and six others were convicted by juries and sentenced to life without parole. In all, the final wave of arrests yielded 31 murder-related convictions.

Short North Posse leader Robert Ledbetter

The final conviction associated with the Short North Posse came in 2017. Robert Ledbetter, a Posse leader, was sentenced to several consecutive life sentences for the revenge killing of 23-year-old Alan Johnson in 2006, who had allegedly murdered Ledbetter’s brother. He was also convicted for his role in the death of drug dealer Marschell Brumfield Junior, and for ordering the murder of his then girlfriend while he was in custody in 2011.

While the violent nature of the crimes committed by Posse members is a matter of record, some say there are two sides to the long-standing gang’s saga.

Was the Short North Posse really as bad as their rap sheet would suggest, or were they unjustly targeted by powerful interests? Whatever the case may be, the Short North of today bears little resemblance to the streets run by Posse members two decades ago.


BBQ got its deep hooks into me when I had a business in Austin, TX – you know, the home of dry rub, beef and sausage. I’ve indulged on pulled pork in NC topped with slaw and drenched in vinegar sauce and the savory of Memphis-style ribs to the sweetness of Kansas City. Columbus has its own mix of styles, like so many other cuisines that find a home in our midwest oasis.

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2 recent attempted abduction reports raise human trafficking concerns

614now Staff



Two recent police reports have local families questioning whether they had a brush with human traffickers.

The first incident involved 18-year-old Kennedy Stokes, who said she and her cousin were approached by two men at a Walmart on November 21, reports 10TV. Stokes said the men tried talking to them several times and felt they were following them.

The next day, Strokes was experiencing car problems on her way home. She made it to the entrance of her apartment complex and got out to check under the hood. That's when a man approached and began grabbing at her.

Stokes noted he was wearing gloves and appeared to have a box cutter in his hand, reports 10TV. She was able to escape his grasp and suffered scratches on her chest.

Stokes believes it was one of the men from Walmart.

The second incident happened 14 miles away at a UDF on Indianola on the same day Stokes said she was attacked, reports 10TV.

A mother and her 12-year-old son were filling up at the gas station. She then went inside to pay, leaving her son in the locked vehicle.

When she returned, she said her son was visibly shaken up. He told her a man was yanking on the door handle, trying to get inside the vehicle. According to 10TV, the man didn't say anything, he only looked inside at the boy.

A security camera captured the incident, and police are currently reviewing the footage.

Both incidents have those involved wondering if they narrowly escaped a case of human trafficking. 10TV reports police are investigating both reports, including identification of suspects and motives.

For more on human trafficking, visit

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Man charged with killing wife in 13th OVI offense

Regina Fox



A Central Ohio man is facing vehicular homicide charges after police say he committed his 13th OVI offense.

Robert Ellis, 53, was arrested and charged Tuesday after the October 16 crash in Prairie Township that killed his wife Dawn.

Ellis claimed he was not to blame for the accident, telling reporters another car went left of center, which caused him to lose control and crash into a pole. Investigators, however, say Ellis was at fault.

The accident marked his 13th OVI offense. Ellis maintains that he was not intoxicated during the time of the crash. He even told ABC on a phone call that he had only two beers at lunch.

An arraignment had yet to be set.

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Learn more about bizarre disappearance of Brian Shaffer

Regina Fox



"Brian Shaffer was supposed to be enjoying a night out with friends on April 1, 2006. Instead, he vanished. 13 years later, the mystery of what happened that night still endures."

That's the description for Crime Junkie Podcast's newest episode. The installment focuses on second-year Ohio State medical student Brian Shaffer, whose disappearance has left his family, friends, and the entire community baffled for over a decade.

Listen below.

To read more about Brian Shaffer's disappearance, click here. To read different theories about what could've happened to him, check out the Podcast Junkie Fan Club page. To view Brian's MySpace, click here.

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