Ron Wall, the man known as The Duke of Fremont Street has been a well-recognized figure around the poker rooms of Las Vegas for many years so he is used to defending his hand at the tables. What he wasn’t prepared for was the savage attempt on his life during a robbery in a hotel room on June 26th, 2010 in Primm, Nevada, outside of Las Vegas.
The Duke thought he was meeting a man he had dealt with before at Whiskey Pete’s to purchase gold and silver. Duke was carrying $137,000 in cash and a couple of Smith & Wesson .38 caliber handguns. Instead, as he entered the hotel room he was ambushed, hit on the head, and for the next twenty minutes the man and a female accomplice pummeled and attacked him with any and every item they could find in the room – a lamp, an iron, a two wheel dolly, and even a toilet tank cover! The Duke was stabbed with a knife and also suffered a scalping wound.
“The twenty minutes seemed more like an eternity to me” said Duke. “I fought with all that I had in me. I knew that I had to stay conscious or I would have been killed and dumped in the desert.”
After the two hog-tied The Duke with duct tape and phone cords, they went into the bathroom – either to clean up or count the money – and Duke knew he had to grab the moment to get away or it was all over for him. Dazed and covered in blood, he got out of his restraints and made it out of the room and down the hall to the registration desk for help. “I thought my number was up,” he recalled.
Needless to say, Duke suffered multiple injuries in this vicious attack. He suffered a concussion and numerous head wounds, fractured cheek bones, broken ribs, and had defensive stab wounds and fractures to both hands. Duke had to undergo surgery and had to attend physical therapy sessions for many months.
The suspects fled to California with his money, but Duke identified the man as Edmond Price, who has a prior criminal history, and the woman as 23-year old Victoria Elizabeth Edelman, described as Price’s girlfriend, out of a photo lineup. They were arrested in California soon after the attack and were later extradited from California to Nevada where they were indicted by a grand jury for eight felony counts. They face anywhere from 15 years to life in prison if convicted on all counts. The bail for each defendant was set at $2,000,000 because of potential flight risk and because authorities suspected they would use Duke’s money, which has yet to be recovered, to hire their defense attorneys.
The Duke has a reputation for being cautious and not taking risks at the poker table; however, his adventurous exploits around the globe are well known among his fellow poker players. When his absence was noticed in the poker world it was thought at first by the rumor mill that he must have been ambushed on one of his many adventures to the Amazon, or some other wild and remote place he has visited, but this time it was something much closer to home that just completely caught him off-guard. The Duke refuses to be considered a victim but believes he is a survivor instead. When asked about the attempted murder and robbery Duke said he “was just dealt a bad hand!”
Since The Duke is considered somewhat of a legend in Las Vegas, easily recognized for his 1930 era gangster-look - complete with custom made, pinstriped Italian suits, polka dot ties, fedora, diamond pinky rings, and even spats - it is expected that the trial (scheduled to begin on August 22nd) will be a highly visible one. His many followers on numerous poker blogs will want justice for this gracious gentleman who has been part of the allure of Las Vegas for many years.
The Duke, who’s conservative poker playing style is far less flashy than his persona, has been featured on the cover of Poker Pro magazine and written up in numerous articles. He believes that surviving the recent brutal attack means that he once again made ‘a win in the game of life’ and, in his words…”The Adventure Continues!”
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