LOCKPORT – Andre L. Jenkins, charged with the execution-style slayings of two local members of the Kingsmen motorcycle club, has received a plea offer that might give him a chance at parole.
Jenkins, 36, of Deland, Fla., is charged with the Sept. 6 shooting deaths of two men – Paul Maue, 38, of Buffalo, and Daniel “DJ” Szymanski, 31, of Getzville – as they sat in a car parked behind the Kingsmen clubhouse on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda. Both men were shot in the back of the head at about 3 a.m.
Jenkins was arrested in Georgia two months later.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said in Niagara County Court on Wednesday that Jenkins has been offered a chance to plead guilty to one count each of first-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
The first-degree murder charge was lodged because there were multiple killings in the same “criminal transaction.” The indictment also includes two counts of second-degree murder.
The maximum sentence for first-degree murder is life in prison without parole, but co-defense counsel Jenelle Messer said Hoffmann had agreed to ask for a sentence of 25 years to life, which is the maximum for second-degree murder.
Such a sentence would give Jenkins the possibility of being paroled someday. However, the weapons count could add 15 years to the minimum, making it 40 years instead of 25.
Hoffmann declined to comment on the plea offer after court.
“I’m going to discuss it with my client,” lead defense counsel Dominic Saraceno said.
County Judge Sara Sheldon asked for an answer from Jenkins at his next court appearance April 10.
On that day, if Jenkins doesn’t plead guilty, a hearing will be held on the admissibility of Jenkins’ statements to police and on the legality of some witness identifications of Jenkins.
Hoffmann said three photo arrays would be at issue in that hearing.
Saraceno asked for another hearing, this one on his request to learn the identity of the tipster who told police to search along Route 219 in the Orchard Park-Boston area for the gun used to kill the two bikers. The handgun was found in a field in late September.
Sheldon said if such a hearing is held, it would occur in her chambers, not in open court.
Meanwhile, Hoffmann asked for and received a postponement of the trial, which had been scheduled for May 4. She said it would put her in a back-to-back situation with another scheduled homicide trial, that of Paul M. Flynn, a Lockport man charged with first-degree manslaughter for allegedly shoving a man down some porch steps, causing a fatal head injury.
Flynn’s trial, expected to last more than a week, starts April 20.
Because of assorted scheduling conflicts for Hoffmann, Sheldon and Saraceno, Jenkins’ trial ended up being postponed three months, to Aug. 3.
That news caused one of the victims’ relatives in the audience to begin sobbing. The trial may last as long as three weeks, Sheldon said.
On another matter, Hoffmann said laboratory analysis of Jenkins’ DNA, to compare it to DNA found in the car where the two men were killed, is complete, and she expects to receive the results shortly.
Saraceno asked for Hoffmann’s witness list to make sure neither he nor Messer have any conflicts of interest. Hoffmann did not want to give up the names but said none of them have criminal records.
Sheldon asked her to make sure none of them ever had any other form of legal dealings with Saraceno, Messer or their associates.