David Pirk didn’t pull the trigger, but prosecutors say he was the one who ordered the killing of two fellow Kingsmen motorcycle club members.
The Kingsmen’s national president was never charged in the original prosecution, but a new federal indictment accuses him of issuing the directive that led to the September 2014 murders of Daniel “DJ” Szymanski and Paul Maue in North Tonawanda.
Pirk’s alleged role in the execution-style killings is spelled out in court papers that accuse 16 Kingsmen in three states of running a criminal enterprise that sold drugs and guns to make money and used murder, robbery and kidnapping to protect its operations. The indictment also charges Andre L. Jenkins, the Kingsmen member found guilty of killing Szymanski, 31, of Getzville, and Maue, 38, of Buffalo, and alleges that it was Pirk who ordered him to kill them.
“The indictment spells out a conversation between Pirk and Jenkins in which Pirk tells him to ‘take care of it,’ ” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Caleb J. Petzoldt.
Jenkins, who is serving a prison sentence of life without parole, is the Kingsmen member who went to trial last year and was found guilty of fatally shooting Maue and Szymanski in a car behind the clubhouse on Oliver Street.
During the trial, there was evidence of discontent within the Kingsmen organization and of numerous members leaving the club for a rival group, the Nickel City Nomads. Maue and Szymanski were among those rumored to be leaving the Kingsmen.
Prosecutors say the federal investigation picked up where the state prosecution left off and, in the end, answered the question about Pirk’s involvement in the double murder. Pirk is charged with racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering.
“The indictment tells the rest of the story,” said U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.
Nine of the 16 defendants were arrested Tuesday as part of an FBI-led roundup across the region. Pirk, who was arrested without incident in Florida, was one of several people charged in Florida and Tennessee.
The indictment also charges two of the Kingsmen’s regional vice presidents and several chapter presidents in what prosecutors are calling a major blow to the group’s national and local leadership.
“This was a very coordinated effort not just here in Western New York, but across the country,” said Adam S. Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI office in Buffalo.
The indictment accuses the 16 Kingsmen of using drug dealing, prostitution, gambling and illegal firearm sales to support the organization and relying on violence and intimidation to protect the enterprise.
Those acts of violence, according to the indictment, included a September 2009 incident involving a woman who was punched repeatedly by a Kingsmen member and then held against her will for three days.
The indictment also refers to a June 2013 incident in which Kingsmen confronted fellow “noncompliant” members from the Springville chapter and struck one of them in the head with a blunt object.
Chief among the allegations, though, is Jenkins’ murder of Szymanski and Maue. Described as an “assassin” and “coldblooded killer” during his trial, Jenkins is charged in the new indictment with being a “Nomad,” or enforcer, for the national Kingsmen organization.
During Jenkins’ state court trial, a jailhouse informant testified that Jenkins told him in Niagara County Jail that he was an “enforcer” with a list of five Western New York Kingsmen to kill, including Maue, Szymanski and “Philly.”
Prosecutors said “Philly” may have been Filip Caruso, who was identified during the trial as a former Kingsmen member who left with others to join the Nickel City Nomads. Caruso is one of the 16 defendants charged under the new indictment.
There were reports that Maue and Szymanski also were leaving the Kingsmen but, during Jenkins’ trial, a prosecution witness said that was not true.
While the indictment focuses on the defendants’ alleged wrongdoing, it also provides a blueprint of sorts on how the Kingsmen operated.
The organization charged monthly dues, operated clubhouses across the region and was made up of local, regional and national chapters, according to prosecutors.
The club also had a role for wives and girlfriends, otherwise known as “old ladies,” and its members are, perhaps, best known for their familiar leather jackets with the “KMC” logo and colors on the back.
Petzoldt said the Kingsmen also took pride in its reputation as a “One Percent” club. He said it’s a reference to the large majority of motorcycle riders – an estimated 99 percent – who abide by the law and the small minority – 1 percent – who choose to break it.
Petzoldt, during the arraignment, described the defendants as “a danger to the community” and asked the court to keep them in custody.
“The government will be asking for detention,” he told U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy.
McCarthy ordered the nine defendants arraigned here held until hearings later in the week.
In addition to Pirk, Jenkins and Caruso, the indictment charges Edgar Dekay, 34; Jason Williams, 41; Glen Stacharczyck, 49; and Ryan Myrtle, 32. The four were identified by authorities as being affiliated with the North Tonawanda Kingsmen chapter.
Other defendants charged with local ties were Robert Osborne Jr., 37, and Thomas Scanlon, 46. Both were affiliated with the Olean chapter. Also charged were Jack Wood, 45, Arcade chapter; and Emmett Green, 44, identified as Arcade/Delevan chapter president.
Also charged were Timothy Enix, 56; Thomas Koszuta, 52; Sean McIndoo, 42; Stanley Olejniczak, 51; and Gregory Willson, 50.
Lawyers for the defendants declined to comment Tuesday.