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Awaiting trial, ex-Outlaws boss rails on snitches, invokes Drew Peterson case

Orville Cochran. | Evergreen Park arrest photo

There’s a patch worn by supporters of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club that sums up the sentiment of biker gangs toward informants. “Snitches are a dying breed,” it says.

These days, former Chicago Outlaws boss Orville “Orvie” Cochran, once one of Chicago’s most-wanted fugitives, is worried about informants turning on him. In a letter to a judge, he has expressed concern that someone might try to frame him as he sits in jail in Wisconsin awaiting trial in a racketeering case that accuses him and five of his onetime biker brothers of murder and mayhem.

After being arrested in Evergreen Park last year for shoplifting a back brace after 16 years on the run, Cochran wrote to the federal judge handling the racketeering case “to bring to the court’s attention a disturbing trend of the jail house snitch,” according to the three-page, handwritten letter in Cochran’s court file.

“So let it be stated — there has not been, nor will there be any pertinent information reguarding [sic] my case devolved [sic] to anyone but my attorneys,” Cochran wrote to U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman.

“My case is high profile making me a prime target for malfeasance,” Cochran wrote.

Referring to the Wisconsin jail where he’s been held, he added: “Concern comes as new arrivals at Dodge County Detention . . . say, ‘Hey Cochran how you doing?’ with a fist bump, one day after they arrive.

“However, I know in some circumstances informants are necessary, as with the Drew Peterson case in Illinois,” Cochran wrote, referring to the now-imprisoned former Bolingbrook cop and wife-killer who was secretly recorded plotting with a fellow inmate to find someone to kill a prosecutor.

“But this was done in a professional manner and recorded electronically — but most are not, therefore wide open for government overreach and abuse.”

Cochran’s case is an unusual one: Now 68, he and the other five Outlaws were indicted in 2001 in a case that accuses members of the motorcycle club in Illinois and Wisconsin of engaging in bombings, drug dealing and murder in the 1990s, including the killings of two members of the rival Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Cochran’s co-defendants all were convicted and have served their time.

Cochran, though, took off in 2001 as the indictment came in and was finally captured only in 2017 — when he was busted for shoplifting a back brace from a Meijer store in Evergreen Park.

A U.S. Marshals Service wanted poster for Orville Cochran.
A U.S. Marshals Service wanted poster for Orville Cochran.

It’s not known where Cochran was during his time on the lam. He is believed to have been out of state for a while, perhaps helped along by Outlaws supporters and sustained by a chunk of cash — by one account, he had $35,000 when he took off, and more stashed away.

Cochran’s racketeering trial was slated to begin in coming weeks in Milwaukee, but the judge granted the defense more time to prepare. It’s unclear now when it will start or whether a plea deal might be reached.

Cochran’s capture has made some in the biker underworld nervous, though there’s no indication Cochran is cooperating with authorities. And it’s uncertain how much useful information he could provide anyway, given the length of time that’s passed.

Still, authorities think Cochran’s crimes go beyond the current racketeering case. He remains one of the prime suspects in the 1999 murder of fellow Outlaw Thomas “West Side Tommy” Stimac, who was found dead, his body riddled with bullets, at his Lemont Township home.

At the time, Stimac was dating Cochran’s former girlfriend, and sources said Cochran was enraged even though he’d already found a new paramour.

Cochran was then the president of the Outlaws’ South Side chapter — though the club now has affiliates around the world, the South Side chapter is considered the original and carries a certain mystique — and Stimac previously had been president until going to prison in the 1980s in a kidnapping and sex abuse case.

Just before his death, Stimac had contemplated offering Cochran $10,000 to make peace, effectively “buying” the rights to the woman at the heart of the dispute, according to a source who asked not to be named. But then Stimac was killed.

Another potential motive for the killing that detectives have considered “was that Orville thought Tommy was trying to come back in and take over leadership,” another source said.

Cook County sheriff’s police hope to interview Cochran at some point soon about Stimac’s murder, officials said.

Cochran’s lawyer declined to comment.

A year after Stimac’s killing, Cochran was shot and wounded outside the Outlaws’ South Side clubhouse at 25th and Rockwell in what police believe was payback for Stimac.

Cochran survived because he slipped on ice, falling below the hail of bullets, according to a former friend who described Cochran as “g–damn lucky.”

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• Ex-Outlaws biker boss speaks out, sees trouble with Hell’s Angels, Nov. 27, 2016

• After decades on Division Street, Outlaws biker clubhouse sold, Feb. 19, 2017

• Outlaws biker fugitive busted — for shoplifting back brace, April 25, 2017