The sentencing of Robert “Willy” Eckert was continued yesterday until Thursday morning. Last week a jury found Eckert guilty of two counts of manslaughter with possession of a firearm, one count of attempted second-degree murder with possession and discharge of a firearm and one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter.
Eckert’s lawyer, Adam Pollack, asked for the continuance to research case law relevant to Florida’s “The 10-20-Life” law. The law, enacted in 1999. makes a 20-year prison sentence mandatory for anyone who fires a gun during the commission of a violent felony. The 10-20-Life law mandates an enhancement to a sentence for another crime and by law the 10-20-Life penalty must be served after the sentence for the original crime is completed.
Eckert fired three shots that all missed in a gun battle in which three men were killed and two men were wounded. Briefly stated, prosecutor Stewart Stone wants Judge Jessica Recksiedler to sentence Eckert to consecutive 20-year sentences. Pollack thinks he can find a precedent that would allow or compel Recksiedler to sentence Eckert to a pair of 20-year sentences that would be served concurrently or simultaneously.
Meanwhile the trial of Paul Wayne “Dog” Smith has been continued and a new trial date has not yet been set. Smith had originally been scheduled for trial on May 5. However, according to Rene Stutzman of the Orlando Sentinel, Smith hired a new lawyer last week and that new counsel will need time to research Smith’s case and decide whether to advise his client to negotiate a plea agreement or fight his case in court. There is a significant amount of evidence that Smith fired the first shots that began the September 30, 2012 gun fight between members of two different clubs that call themselves Warlocks.
Numerous witnesses in previous trials have said that Smith fired the shots that killed Peter “Hormone” Schlette.
The open slot in Recksiedler’s calendar will now be filled by the second trial of Victor Manuel “Pancho” Amaro. Prosecutors allege that Amaro fired the shots that killed Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela. Amaro was tried the first time during the week of April 14 but a mistrial was declared four days into that proceeding after a sloppy prosecutorial error.
Former Florida Warlocks
Both Smith and fellow defendant David “Tin Man” Maloney are former club brothers of the victims in the September 2012 gunfight. The victims were all members of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club headquartered in Orlando. Both Smith and Maloney were expelled from that club and became members of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club headquartered in Philadelphia.
Smith was expelled from his old club after numerous arrests involving methamphetamine abuse. He appears never to have done time for any of his crank arrests and he also somehow avoided jail after brandishing a knife in an altercation between Philly Warlocks and members of the Red Devils Motorcycle Club in the Out of Bounds bar in Florence, South Carolina.
Around the same time, Maloney was not charged after shooting a member of his former club outside Jonny Rotton’s Bar Out Back in Sanford, Florida