David “Tin Man” Maloney took the stand in his own defense today in his murder trial in Sanford, Florida. Maloney is charged with two counts of second degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. The charges result from a shoot out in Winter Springs, Florida on September 30, 2012. A third count of second degree murder filed against Maloney was dropped yesterday.
The gun battle erupted as five members of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club attempted to join a charity poker run as it assembled in the parking lot of a Veterans of Foreign Wars Post parking lot. The poker run was sponsored by a separate and distinct Warlocks Motorcycle Club. The clubs can be differentiated by their patches. Members of Maloney’s Warlocks Motorcycle Club wear a harpy on their backs and that club is headquartered in Chester, Pennsylvania. The victims were all members of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club that wears a phoenix patch and is headquartered in Orlando.
As the five men rode into the VFW parking lot carrying an $800 donation, a Harpy Warlock named Paul Wayne Smith shot a Florida Warlock named Peter “Hormone” Schlette in the arm. When Schlette protested, Smith shot him again in the face. Within seconds two more Florida Warlocks named Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela lay mortally wounded within feet of their motorcycles. Two more Florida Warlocks named Ronnie “Whiteboy” Mitchell and Brad Dyess were wounded but survived by taking cover and returning fire.
Smith and two other Harpy Warlocks, Robert William Eckert and Victor Manuel Amaro are also charged with second degree murder and attempted murder. Maloney, a chapter president, had ordered the three other men to not let any Florida Warlocks attend the poker run. Maloney was inside the VFW Post when Smith gunned down Schlette. He has testified that he immediately ran outside after he heard the second shot and also fired at the surviving Warlocks.
Maloney testified today that he had acted in self defense.
In direct examination LaFay asked Maloney, “When you ran out of that building and heard all the gunfire what did you think was happening?”
Maloney replied, “I figured they were there to kill me…all of us…. They’ve told us numerous times they wanted us dead. They told me I had to leave the state of Florida. Shutting us down meant they were going to kill us…. My office was about a mile from my house. So, whenever I would leave my house, I would never leave in the same direction. I would never come home the same way. I never went to work the same time. I varied my routes all the time.”
Maloney said that morning “Someone yelled in the door, ‘Warlocks are here.’ As I got to the door I heard one or two rounds go off.”
He testified that he only fired one or two rounds that day. None of Maloney’s rounds hit any of the Florida Warlocks.
LaFay asked, “Did you fire that round or two rounds for any other reason than to protect yourself and people with you?”
“It was all in self-defense,” Maloney replied.
Under cross examination prosecutor Stewart Stone wondered why Maloney didn’t stay inside and call authorities. He asked “You didn’t have to go out there, correct?”
Maloney replied, “I didn’t have to go out there, but I did. When I heard someone come to the door and say, ‘The Warlocks are here,’ I figured they’d come to kill me. That’s why I walked outside. To see what was going on.”
Stand Your Ground
After Maloney testified his attorney, Michael LaFay moved that Maloney be granted immunity from prosecution under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. That law allows citizens to use deadly force rather than running away when they have a reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily injury. In most jurisdictions in the United States the law requires citizens faced with imminent danger to avoid confrontation before they can use deadly force in self defense. Judge Marlene Alva denied the motion.
The defense and prosecution will deliver their closing arguments tomorrow morning. Maloney’s fate should be in the hands of the jury by mid-afternoon.