Among the many characters that can be seen on the streets of Las Vegas, one is well known inside and outside the gaming world and is seen as a picturesque character known by all as the Duke of Fremont Street. Traveler; adventurer, philanthropist, socialite and Las Vegas treasure- hunter, now he can also be called kidnapping and attempted murder victim and star witness for the prosecution.
His real name is Ron Wall; and even if he had or still has his fingers in many businesses, he is mostly known as a professional high-stakes poker player in many casinos of Las Vegas.
But now this Las Vegas icon is in the limelight for a different reason: to obtain justice for the brutal murder attempt, kidnapping and robbery that nearly cost him his life.
The upcoming trial of the people accused of this heinous act will be closely watched by the public who very much like and admire this one-of-a-kind gentleman of Las Vegas!
According to his publicist, this professional poker-player’s upcoming case and his survival of the brutal, murderous attack, is simply described, by him, as “using up one more of my nine lives.”
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, about sixty miles south 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. He 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 scalp wound.
“The twenty minutes seemed more like an eternity to me,” said the 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 security desk for help. “I thought I was finished!” 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 with his money but were arrested in California soon after the attack, and were later extradited 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 the 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 through 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 visited, but this time it was something much closer to home that just completely caught him off-guard.
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 January 28th, 2013) will be a highly visible one.