Andre L. “Li’l Bear” Jenkins, who faces both state and federal charges in the execution style murders of Kingsmen Motorcycle Club members Paul Maue and Daniel “DJ” Szymanski last September 6, has been offered a plea deal that would eventually make him eligible for parole.
Thomas Prohaska of the Buffalo News reported that Niagara County Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann told County Judge Sara Sheldon about the proposed deal in open court yesterday. Judge Sheldon gave Jenkins until April 10 to make up his mind. If he turns down the deal and is found guilty Jenkins faces life in prison.
The cases against Jenkins are proceeding very slowly. An informant incriminated Jenkins and led police to the murder weapon, a Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol. Jenkins appears to be linked to both the gun and the murder scene with DNA evidence. Police have previously said that Jenkins fled accompanied by another Kingsmen. There is no hint that Jenkins is cooperating with police.
According to public documents, the gun was recovered on “September 23, 2014, during a multi-agency search/investigation by FBI, New York State Police, and other law enforcement agencies. Following the discovery of the firearm on the side of the road on Route 219, it was submitted to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office forensic Laboratory where it was swabbed for the presence of DNA. A DNA profile was developed from a swab of the firearm.”
The identity of the informant and any investigations related to the Murders of Maue and Szymanski remain secret.
Yesterday, Jenkins’ lawyer, Dominic Saraceno, asked Judge Sheldon to disclose the name of the informant to him. The judge took the request under advisement and said that any hearing on the matter would be held in camera, which is to say in private, where the public cannot see what is going on. Saraceno appears to already know the name of the informant so only the public is being kept in the dark. Last week Saraceno filed a standard discovery motion that would compel federal prosecutors to divulge the identity of the informant and any promises prosecutors might have made him to gain his cooperation. So far the federal case seems fairly simple. Jenkins is charged with a being a felon in possession of a gun. Since last November, there have been only a dozen filings in the federal case. But in his motion, Saraceno described the case as “complex.”
In federal criminal practice, “complex cases” are usually cases brought against “criminal organizations” or involving “conspiracies.” Deadlines imposed by the Speedy Trial Act of 1974 are usually relaxed in complex cases.
The federal investigation is “ongoing.”
The great mystery in these two intertwined cases, as Dan Herbeck of the News put it late last year, is “what would compel Jenkins, identified by police as a Kingsmen associate, to travel 1,159 miles from a small city near Daytona Beach to a Kingsmen clubhouse in North Tonawanda and target Daniel “DJ” Szymanski and Paul Maue…. And was anyone else involved in the planning or the killings?”
Jenkins is not a stereotypical biker. He is a black man from Omaha who was convicted of first degree burglary in South Dakota in 1998. He was released on parole in August 2010 and disappeared. At the time of his arrest Jenkins was working at a car wash called DeLand Auto Spa in Florida and he was a member or former member of the Daytona Beach chapter of the Kingsmen. Presumably, since Jenkins was an absconder from parole, he was also a federal fugitive and that seems to have been why he was taken into custody while riding in a car near Savannah, Georgia last November 8.
There have been numerous public statements by William J. Hochul, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is participating the investigation of the murders of Szymanski and Maue.
Last summer, after a two year long, FBI investigation, Anthony Annatone Jr a former Daytona Beach police sergeant and the vice president of the Kingsmen Daytona Beach Chapter, pleaded no contest to a charge of dealing Oxycodone and was sentenced to three years in state prison. Annatone was arrested in June 2012. Either Jenkins was not a member of the Kingsmen during that federal investigation or somehow, the FBI missed a five foot eight inch, 240 pound, black biker fugitive.
There has been widespread conjecture in the press that the murders last September are linked to attempts by another motorcycle club to patch over members of the Kingsmen.
On August 31, 2013 the Kingsmen’s Lockport clubhouse was damaged, a man sleeping inside was beaten with baseball bats and a motorcycle, several firearms, ammunition, beer, liquor and a cell phone were stolen. In early August, Szymanski reportedly told a friend, “We had some problems down in Jamestown. Another club was trying to take over our Jamestown clubhouse.” And, on August 24, an unnamed Kingsmen was attacked near the Niagara Falls Clubhouse and stripped of his colors. The man also reported that five rifles, a shotgun and two black powder rifles had been stolen from the clubhouse.”
During the last year, according to informed sources, there have been attempts by the Rebels Motorcycle Club to recruit members of the Kingsmen. The Rebels is a multiracial motorcycle club that once had but no longer has a chapter in Florida.
The Rebels withdrawal from Florida was virtually simultaneous with the resignation of former Rebels president Matt Monk and the ascendancy of current Rebels President Mike Cunningham. The Aging Rebel has been unable to verify that Jenkins is a former member of the Rebels in Florida.
The Rebels, which was founded in Brisbane in 1969, is the largest motorcycle club in Australia. The Rebels expansion into the United States has led to multiple territorial disputes with established American clubs. Cunningham recently bragged that the Rebels are “the most talked about club in America.” Cunningham’s approach to growing and publicizing his club is at odds with the long held attitude of most American motorcycle clubs that the best publicity is no publicity.
On October 13, 2014 Rebels brandished an AK-47 and engaged in a gunfight with members of the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club in Rochester, Pennsylvania. Two men were shot and another was stabbed during a confrontation between Rebels and members of the War Dogs Motorcycle Club in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on January 31.