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Kingsmen hitman's sentence of life without parole upheld on appeal

Kingsmen hitman's sentence of life without parole upheld on appeal

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Andre L. Jenkins, at his Nov. 25, 2014, arraignment in Niagara County Court, Lockport, for the murders of two Kingsmen in North Tonawanda. 

Andre L. Jenkins, the hitman for the Kingsmen motorcycle club who killed two men execution-style in North Tonawanda seven years ago, will stay in prison for the rest of his life.

A five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Rochester ruled unanimously Thursday that the sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole was "not unduly harsh or severe."

The judges threw out Jenkins' two convictions for second-degree murder on a legal technicality, but that partial win did Jenkins no practical good, because the court upheld his conviction for first-degree murder.

That's the count that gave now-retired Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon the chance to sentence Jenkins to life without parole – an opportunity she seized Oct. 21, 2015.

A jury had found Jenkins guilty of killing Daniel “DJ” Szymanski, 31, of Getzville, and Paul Maue, 38, of Buffalo, with single gunshots to the back of the head.

The killings occurred shortly before 3 a.m. Sept. 6, 2014, as the victims sat in a car parked behind the Kingsmen clubhouse at 322 Oliver St., North Tonawanda.

The Appellate Division dismissed the second-degree murder charges because it considered them an improper duplication of the first-degree charge.

But it had no interest in any of the other points raised by Jenkins, who was represented on appeal by an attorney from the Legal Aid Society of Buffalo, J. Michael Marion.

The court rejected claims of prosecutorial misconduct during jury selection, ineffective defense representation at the trial, withholding of evidence and failure to make a record of attorneys' conferences with the judge at the bench during the trial.

The murders led to a full-dress federal investigation of the Kingsmen as an organized crime enterprise.

In a three-month trial in U.S. District Court in 2018, David Pirk, now 70, the national president of the Kingsmen, was convicted of ordering the killings.

Pirk and Jenkins, who was convicted again in the federal trial, received three consecutive life sentences in federal court.

Timothy Enix, now 62, the club's number-two man, was sentenced to 20 years for his role in the conspiracy.

Prosecutors said the murders were part of a violent rivalry among the Kingsmen over the efforts of Pirk, a Lockport native, to turn the club into a racketeering ring.

Evidence in the Niagara County trial showed that Jenkins, now 42, traveled from Florida to Western New York to commit the murders.

After Maue and Szymanski were killed, a Kingsmen member testified that a man sped past him on a motorcycle shouting "L.K.D.K.!" That's short for a club slogan: "Live Kingsman, die Kingsman."

A woman who rode with Jenkins on his motorcycle as he left North Tonawanda following the killings testified in the Niagara County trial that Jenkins threw the gun and an ammunition magazine away on the Route 219 expressway, where police later found them, about two miles apart.

Jenkins is serving his sentence in Attica Correctional Facility. Pirk is serving his time in a high-security federal facility in Sumterville, Fla., while Enix is behind bars in a low-security facility in Oakdale, La.

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