The poker run shootout in Winter Springs, Florida on September 30, 2012 claimed another life this morning. Judge Jessica Recksiedler sentenced Victor Manuel “Pancho” Amaro to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murders of Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela.
Amaro was the third of three defendants arrested after the incident to stand trial. David “Tin Man” Maloney was acquitted of four of five charges on April 11. A mistrial was declared on a fifth charge, of attempted murder, and prosecutors have not yet announced if they will retry Maloney on that charge. Another defendant, Robert “Willy” Eckert, was sentenced to serve 27 years in prison for participating in the gun battle. A fourth defendant, Paul Wayne “Dog” Smith, is now scheduled for trial this July.
Three members of the Warlocks Motorcycle Club were killed and two more were wounded when the five men rode into a VFW post parking lot to attend a charity poker run sponsored by another and less prominent Warlocks Motorcycle Club. The victims were Warlocks whose club has deep roots in Florida. The accused were members of a small chapter of a Warlocks club rooted in Philadelphia. Maloney and Smith were both former members of the Florida Warlocks.
The dead Florida Warlocks were Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle, Peter “Hormone” Schlette and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela. The wounded Florida Warlocks were Brad Dyess and Ronnie “Whiteboy” Mitchell. Prosecutors described the fight as an “ambush.”
Although both Maloney and Eckert fired shots in the incident there is no evidence that either man hit anything. Smith began the battle when he shot Peter “Hormone” Schlette in the arm. According to witnesses, Schlette’s last words were, “Motherfucker you jus shot me.” Smith then shot Schlette in the eye.
After hearing those two shots Amaro rushed into the parking lot with a pistol in each hand and killed Liddle and Jakiela. He was tried twice. The first time he appeared before a jury Judge Recksiedler declared a mistrial after prosecutors disclosed that he was a convicted felon.
All four of the defendants have claimed to have acted in self defense. Amaro’s lawyer, Junior Barrett, told jurors that when Amaro began shooting he “was scared. He was firing (because) he believed they (the dead men) were coming to hurt or kill.”
At today’s sentencing hearing, Barrett told the judge that Amaroa’s shots weren’t “directed specifically at an individual…. This was a panic situation and Mr. Amaro reacted to that panic situation.”
Jakiela’s common law widow, Suzelle Miller, also talked to the judge this morning. She said Amaro “changed my world forever in what was only seconds….. The world turned into a black hole…numbness gave way to pain.”