Red Elk family

Eugene “Lorne” Red Elk, second from left, pictured with his four sons.

Evi Red Elk is the youngest of Eugene “Lorne” Red Elk’s four sons, and he said his father’s death affected him deeply. 

On Thursday, police announced that Martin Edmo Ish was arrested in Boise and charged with first-degree murder for the beating death of his dad, and Evi said the news was bittersweet.

“We do feel like justice will be served now, but we still feel the loss of my dad,” Evi said.

Lorne was severely beaten outside Duffy’s Tavern on North Main Street in Pocatello on June 14, 2009. He sustained massive head trauma and chest injuries, and his family made the gut-wrenching decision to discontinue life support measures three days later.  

Evi lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, but he plans to be in Pocatello when Ish goes to court.

Lorne’s family, friends, co-workers and most of the patrons at the westside pub suspected Ish from the very beginning, Evi said.

“He was one of the guys my dad had thrown out of the bar that night,” he said.

On the day Lorne was attacked, witnesses said Ish was ejected from the Bourbon Barrel Bar in Old Town after bartender Linda Loveday Wood caught him trying to steal cigarettes. One of the patrons then gave Ish a ride to Duffy’s Tavern. 

Loveday Wood said that when she found out that he had been dropped off at another establishment, she called the bartender at Duffy’s and alerted her that Ish could be a problem.

When Ish refused to produce identification — Idaho law requires all bar patrons to have identification in order to be inside the establishment — he was asked to leave. 

Red Elk told Ish that he could come back another day when he had ID, but he would have to leave until then.

Loveday Wood said the arrest Thursday confirmed what downtown patrons had always suspected.

“I think it’s about time,” Loveday Wood said. “Everyone believed it was (Ish) from the beginning.”

As well as his part-time job as a bouncer at Duffy’s, Red Elk also worked for as a newsroom camera operator at KPVI News Channel 6, the local NBC affiliate.  

When the bar closed, Lorne went outside to check the parking lot as he did every night. The bartender found Red Elk lying on the ground a few minutes later, badly beaten and barely clinging to life. 

Duffy’s owner Tina Wheelock said Red Elk lived in the neighborhood, and even when he wasn’t on duty at the bar, he typically stayed and made sure that the bartender working the night shift made it to her car after closing. 

Following the murder, Wheelock installed video cameras in the parking lot at Duffy’s as a safety measure.

Pocatello Police Chief Scott Marchand said Ish had been a person of interest in the case for some time and that the suspect had even been interviewed in connection to the murder during the initial investigation.

In 2010, Sixth District Judge Stephen S. Dunn sentenced Ish to a prison term of three years fixed and four years indeterminate for possession of a controlled substance. He was also charged as a persistent violator at that time, but the enhancement charge was dismissed.   

His criminal history includes driving under the influence, burglary, battery, petit theft, probation violation, possession and paraphernalia, and battery on a correctional officer.

Ish was paroled from the Department of Corrections on May 20.

Marchand said the case remains an open and active investigation. 

Anyone with additional information in the case is urged to call the Pocatello Police Department at 208-234-6100 or 208-234-6121.

Bannock County Prosecutor Steve Herzog said Ish will be transported to Bannock County and a preliminary hearing will be scheduled in the case.

Ish’s arrest marked the second cold case arrest by the Pocatello Police Department in the past nine months and the third murder case currently being tried in Bannock County.

Herzog said his office currently has ample resources to handle the homicide cases, and he said if it became necessary, a special prosecutor could be appointed or the county could hire an additional prosecutor. 

Martin Ish is also the father of Anthony Ish, who was indicted for assault with a dangerous weapon in the shooting and disappearance of Darrell Auck in Fort Hall. 

Witnesses said Anthony Ish shot Auck at a residence on East Agency Road in Fort Hall last October. 

Police found evidence of a shooting, including blood and shell casings, but Auck’s body has not been recovered. 

Evi looks like his dad, and he said people tell him he has Lorne’s laugh.

“My dad and I were close, and we are a lot alike,” he said. “He liked corny, cheesy jokes, and so do I. He was a real laid back, solid guy, you could always count on him.”

Married to his junior high sweetheart, Evi now has two sons of his own. His oldest son was just 2 years old when Lorne was killed, and his youngest son never got a chance to meet his grandfather. 

“We have lots of pictures, and we’re keeping (my dad’s) memory alive for my boys,” Evi said. “The family never gave up hope that an arrest would be made, that justice would be served in my dad’s case.”

Evi said Pocatello police kept the family informed as the investigation continued.

“We really want to thank the Pocatello police and all the law enforcement agencies for never giving up on my dad and for their compassion for our family,” Evi said.

Ish remains incarcerated at the Ada County jail.

 

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