All David “Tin Man” Maloney can do now is wait. A Florida jury began deliberating his fate about 2 p.m. Eastern Time today. If convicted, Maloney faces life in prison.
Maloney is accused of second degree murder and attempted murder in the deaths of two Warlocks Motorcycle Club patch holders named Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela. Liddle died during a shootout between members of two unrelated motorcycle clubs that both call themselves the Warlocks. Jakiela, an Orlando architect, was mortally wounded in the same battle and died two days later. A third Warlock, Peter Schlette of Denham Springs, Louisiana also died at the scene. Two other men were wounded during the encounter.
The better known of the Warlocks Motorcycle Clubs is the Orlando, Florida based fraternal organization which has chapters throughout the Southeast. The other Warlocks club is affiliated with the Chester, Pennsylvania based Warlocks. The Chester Warlocks in turn are former members of a Warlocks club that historically rode and partied in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey.
A Chester Warlock named Paul Wayne Smith actually fired the shots that killed Schlette. A Chester Warlock named Victor Amaro fired the shots that killed Liddle and Jakiela. Maloney participated in the shootings in the parking lot of a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Winter Springs, Florida on September 30, 2012 but appears not to have hit anybody. Maloney was the president of a Chester Warlocks chapter in Florida. Smith and Amaro fired on the dead men after Maloney told them not to let Florida Warlocks attend a poker run that began at the VFW post.
Maloney was a former member of the Florida Warlocks. A year before the VFW gun battle Maloney shot and wounded one of his former club brothers outside a Sanford biker bar named Jonny Rotton’s Bar Out Back. Maloney avoided charges in that shooting after prosecutors decided he had acted in self defense. He also claimed self defense after the VFW shootings.
In his closing statement to the jury this morning, prosecutor Stewart Stone told the panel to use “common sense.”
“The three men who were killed didn’t have guns with them or on their motorcycles,” Stone said. “This isn’t a stand your ground case. He (Maloney) didn’t stand his ground. What he did is he advanced his ground.” Stone said Maloney should have called the police instead of opening fire. “Call 911, like everyone in the bar was doing,” He said. “I’m going to talk about that, because that’s a concept foreign to Mr. Maloney. You hear gunshots, call 911…and have his gun in his hand, ready for someone to come inside the VFW hall area, and then defend himself if he needed to. That would have been ‘Stand Your Ground.’”
The prosecutor told the jury that Maloney was an accessory to the murders whether his bullets actually killed anyone or not. “To be principal, the defendant doesn’t even have to be present when the crime was committed,” he said. “Were Mr. Maloney’s actions reasonable that morning? No they were not.”
Maloney’s defender, Michael LaFay demonized the Florida Warlocks throughout the trial and tried to convince jurors that members of that club were dangerous and that they posed an ongoing, credible threat to Maloney and his new club brothers.
“We heard the testimony of John Glazier,” LaFay said. “He told you what that man was like. They had one purpose, and that was to go over there and violently shut them down. These are euphemisms. ‘Shut ‘em down.’ That means to beat ‘em. Hurt ‘em. Kill ‘em. It’s just a question of when.” He said the men who died in the shootout were “not followers of the Gandhi non-violent mantra.”
LaFay painted the circumstances of the shootout in shades of gray. “Do you have any evidence that he shot anyone? The answer is no…. Did he or did he not act in self-defense? If you have reasonable doubt on that issue, the answer to that is no. No…. If you believe he did, you must find him not guilty.”
As of 6 p.m. Eastern time, it seemed unlikely the jury would reach a verdict before tomorrow.