Smith Trial Day Two

September 16, 2014

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Blaming the victim is a venerable, if risky, strategy in criminal defense. It sometimes works because juries tend to include a disproportionate number of people who are too stupid to get out of jury duty. It is the strategy that accused killer Paul Wayne “Dog” Smith’s defender, Debra Ferwerda, chose to present to the jury during opening arguments this morning. So Smith probably has at least a puncher’s chance of going free.

Ferwerda also plans to invoke Florida’s holy “stand your ground” law, which is increasingly reminiscent of the bygone days when a cop could get away with executing the driver of any slow moving car by simply jumping in front of the car, emptying his pistol and then claiming self-defense accomplished while “in great fear for his life.”

Dog And Old Pillow

Smith is a former Florida Warlock from Florence, South Carolina who joined a faction of what should simply be called the Philly Warlocks. He is one of four Philly Warlocks accused of killing three Florida Warlocks and wounding two others as they rode into the parking lot of a VFW post in Winter Springs, Florida on September 30,  2012. The lot was the starting point for a poker run that had been advertised as a fund raiser for wounded veterans. The five Florida Warlocks were carrying an $800 contribution.

From the beginning the case has been bizarre and cinematic. The Philly Warlocks are split into factions and the shooters were all affiliated with a faction centered on the Chester, Pennsylvania chapter of the club. Some of those involved were Philly Warlocks who moved to Florida and became Florida Warlocks but then they left that club and became Philly Warlocks again. The victims all traveled to Winter Springs from the Florida Warlocks Orlando clubhouse. At the time that chapter was the subject of a reality television series called Warlocks Rising. When that show finally aired months later it credited the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for its cooperation. The VFW parking lot was surveilled by two undercover police cars but in an amazing coincidence both cars drove away just before the shooting started. The Florida Warlock who was president of the Orlando chapter testified in a previous trial that he had told the five men who went to the poker run not to do it. Various Philly Warlocks, including Smith, have said publically and privately that they had “Intel” that the Florida Warlocks intended to attack them. The wife of the Orlando chapter president was said to have been spying on the Philly Warlocks at the run and phoning in reports. There are another four or five hundred of these remarkable and possibly even pertinent details. So, the narrative of the case mostly resembles what a dog can do to an old feather pillow.

The Bodies

Three Florida Warlocks died within seconds of entering the parking lot. They were Harold “Lil Dave” Liddle, Peter “Hormone” Schlette and Dave “Dresser” Jakiela. Two more Florida Warlocks, Brad Dyess and Ronnie “Whiteboy” Mitchell were wounded in the exchange of gunfire that followed. Four Philly Warlocks were charged with murder and attempted murder. Former Florida Warlock David “Tin Man” Maloney was acquitted on three of four counts in April and my be retried on a mistried count of attempted murder.  Robert William “Willy” Eckert, who fired three shots that didn’t hit anybody, was found guilty of multiple counts and sentenced to 27 years in prison. Victor Manuel “Pancho” Amaro who killed Liddle and Jakiela was sentenced to life in prison.

Smith shot and killed Schlette and this morning Ferwerda called it an unavoidable act of self defense. Smith ran toward Schlette, told him to leave then shot him in the arm with a .40 caliber pistol round. Schelette and his motorcycle fell. Schlette rose, profanely complained that Smith had just shot him and Smith shot the wounded man in the eye. Prosecutors have categorized the incident as an “ambush.” This morning Ferwerda told the jury that after Smith fired the first, non-lethal shot he felt “something” hit him in the face “and not knowing if half of his face is blown off” he managed to squeeze off another round as he stumbled.

Ferwerda also told jurors that Smith was the victim of an “ambush” by the Florida Warlocks. Although none of the dead men were carrying firearms, she described their deaths as “a gunfight from the wild, wild west” and “justified self defense.” She said Smith was still traumatized from an incident a decade ago when Schlette threatened to rape his wife and steal his bike. She said her client had been badly beaten on February 5, 2011 after he lost a club wide election. And she told the jury “September 30, 2012 was just one page in a long book of threats and violence.”

Maybe the jury believed her. The trial is expected to last through the week.

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3 Responses to “Smith Trial Day Two”

  1. Jack Says:

    Damn CN, you just described most of my adult life, lol.

  2. Bill Says:

    After two years, at least the larger details of this story are finally a lot less confusing. I mean, all the different Club factions, and their barely penetrable histories, seem to have been sorted out at this point. But the minutiae of the actual event seems to have limitless depth: ” This morning Ferwerda told the jury that after Smith fired the first, non-lethal shot he felt “something” hit him in the face “and not knowing if half of his face is blown off” he managed to squeeze off another round as he stumbled.” I’m more than a bit awed by Rebel’s “Dog and Feather Pillow” analogy here. The apparent craziness of this thing from the cloudy, “pre”historical beginnings to the ongoing fogginess of what keeps coming out, couldn’t have been better put. The myriad and serpentine story lines here easily trump the rather straightforward, but classic, tale of “Gunfight At The OK Corral”. What are the producers of Warlocks Rising thinking at this point, I wonder, or Sutter? This may or not be Shakespearean, but it’s got to be at least as “out there” as anything cooked up on SOA, and, it’s Real. Is this the “Ultimate” Biker Movie? Or is it something so sad and terrible it should just quietly as possible fade into the regrettable past.

  3. CN Says:

    Sometimes office workers who have to be in cubicles 37.5 hours a week welcome Jury Duty especially if they work for Banks or other shitty employers who allow them to get their hourly wage plus the Jury Duty stipend free lunch and often less than 7.5 hours per day. There’s also the added benefit of not having to tolerate the same assholes they endure day after day without the benefit of massive amounts of alcohol until after they leave work and have to go home to the family where often the cycle repeats. Ordinarily these poor dumb bastards don’t even bother to vote or do anything even remotely civic minded but once in a blue moon they get a temporary repreve from their dead end alleged jobs and jump at the chance to divert to something, anything else. Being sequestered over night in a Hotel where they not only aren’t supposed to talk to their families or watch news reports are forced to spend endless hours at the Hotel bar watching Monday Night Football without the Wife & kids, having to navigate the elevator to the Hotel room where their largest obligation is to fall on the right bed. Hey you never know, Son’s of Agony might be on!

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