Jury selection began today in the trial of Paul Wayne “Dog” Smith at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida. About 80 prospective jurors were present when the court session began. Judge Jessica Recksiedler is presiding over the case. Smith is accused of second degree murder in the deaths of three members of another motorcycle club.
He is the fourth and final defendant to stand trial in the case. David “Tin Man” Maloney was acquitted on two counts of second degree murder and one count of attempted murder on April 11. The jury in his trial deadlocked on a second count of attempted murder and a mistrial was declared. Maloney remains free and has not been retried.
Robert William “Willy” Eckert was judged 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 was sentenced to serve 27 years in prison on May 1.
Victor Manuel “Pancho” Amaro was sentenced to life in prison last May 29 for two counts of second degree murder.
The shootings occurred as five members of one Warlocks Motorcycle Club rode into the parking lot of a VFW post in Winter Springs, Florida to attend a poker run sponsored by another and distinct Warlocks Motorcycle Club on September 30, 2012. The accused men are members of a Warlocks Motorcycle Club that was founded in Philadelphia in 1967. Members of that club wear a patch that portrays a mythical creature called a harpy. The victims were all members of a club founded in 1967 that has its mother chapter in Orlando. Members of the victims’ club wear a patch that portrays a phoenix. Two of the accused, Maloney and Smith, are former members of the Orlando based Warlocks.
Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle, Peter “Hormone” Schlette and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela died. None of them were carrying firearms. They were carrying an $800 donation. Two other men, Brad Dyess and Ronnie “Whiteboy” Mitchell, were carrying firearms and were wounded during the incident.
All of the accused men have said they acted in self defense. At his trial, Maloney testified: “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.”
Prosecutors described the shooting as an “ambush.”
During court testimony in previous trials, witnesses have testified that Smith began the minute-long gunfight when he shot Schlette in the arm. Witnesses testified that Schlette’s last words were, “Motherfucker you just shot me.” Smith then shot Schlette in the eye.
Smith told police that he had been badly beaten on February 5, 2011 after he ran for national president of the Orlando-based Phoenix Warlocks and lost the election to John Boudreau.
In a video-recorded interview Smith said: “Basically, we had already had the Intel that they was coming to shut us down. They have a lot of animosity toward me. I was in that club for ten years. I was the boss of the Florence (South Carolina) club. And, when they rolled up I came inside and told some of those people. I came outside and when they rolled…I had to walk out close to the road…and (when) they drove past me I told them, ‘Y’all leave ‘cause you’re not welcome.’ Hormone, Pete, he turned his motorcycle toward me, to run toward me, and after that…I thought…I felt threatened. When they came toward me his bike cut. When he whipped around to come towards me, he was on tall of me. He came off towards me. I warned him…you know…to stay back.”