LOCKPORT — A Florida man has been found guilty of killing two fellow motorcycle club members outside a biker clubhouse in North Tonawanda last year — a case that has connections to Olean.
After two days of deliberations a Niagara County jury on Thursday convicted 36-year-old Andre Jenkins of Deland of first- and second-degree murder in the fatal Sept. 6 shootings of Daniel Szymanski of Getzville and Paul Maue of Buffalo, the Buffalo News reported.
The 31-year-old Szymanski and 38-year-old Mow were sitting in a car outside the Kingsmen clubhouse in North Tonawanda when Jenkins shot both men in the back of the head.
Jenkins, who was arrested in Georgia two months after the slayings, could be sentenced to life without parole, the News reported. A judge will announce the sentence Oct. 21.
Prosecutors say the two Kingsmen members were killed because of an internal dispute among the bikers. In coverage of Jenkins' trial, Buffalo News writer Thomas J. Prohaska reported testimony that Jenkins had traveled from Florida with Kingsmen national president David Pirk — stopping at the Kingsmen clubhouse in Olean — to investigate defections of Kingsmen to another motorcycle club.
The News reported testimony of a Portville woman who traveled with Jenkins, Pirk and another Kingsman to Niagara Falls and the North Tonawanda area. Rene Faulkner testified that after meetings or attempted meetings with Kingsmen or former members of the club, Jenkins left her to go to the Kingsmen clubhouse in North Tonawanda.
When he returned, she testified, Jenkins was agitated and had blood on the bottom of his pants. She also testified that, while riding on Route 219 back to Olean that early morning after the murders, Jenkins disassembled a handgun and tossed the pieces along the side of the highway.
WGRZ of Buffalo reported that two weeks after the slayings, a gun was recovered by police searching along 219 — they later identified through shell casings left at the crime scene the gun as being the murder weapon.
The News reported that Faulkner also testified she burned Jenkins' clothes in a neighbor's firepit.
Another witness for the prosecution, Roger Albright, a former Kingsmen member from Olean, testified that Jenkins told him he killed the two victims and Albright corroborated testimony that Jenkins' clothes were burned after he returned to Olean. The News reported that Albright said he signed an agreement with federal prosecutors granting him immunity from prosecution if he testified truthfully.
On the witness stand, Albright also testified he feared for his life. Reports from media outlets covering the trial indicate that the FBI has been investigating the Kingsmen on a national level, and that witnesses in the Jenkins trial have also been interviewed by federal authorities about other alleged activities by Kingsmen members.
The Jenkins trial, its connections to Olean and the federal scrutiny of the Kingsmen were issues raised Aug. 10 during a meeting of the Olean Planning Board, which denied the local chapter of the motorcycle club a special permit to operate as a social club at 122 E. Pine St.
Opponents of the permit, while not suggesting that local Kingsmen were involved in illegal activities, said the Jenkins case and federal scrutiny of the national organization of the club were reasons to deny the permit.
Planning board members were more immediately concerned with noise from rumbling bikes and traffic issues in denying the special permit.