The national president of the Kingsmen motorcycle club pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to federal charges that he ordered the executions of two Buffalo-area club members in September 2014.
With the parents of one of the victims sitting about 15 feet away, David John Pirk, 65, made his first Buffalo court appearance. Pirk and 15 other Kingsmen members were indicted five weeks ago in a gang violence case involving claims of murder, intimidation, drug dealing, gun trafficking and other crimes.
Pirk, a resident of Eustis, Fla., who grew up in Niagara County, has been assigned two attorneys because his case is a potential death penalty prosecution. Taxpayers will cover the expenses for both attorneys because Pirk has told authorities he cannot afford to hire an attorney.
A detention hearing will be held May 23 to determine if federal marshals can continue to keep Pirk in jail while he awaits trial, Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer said. Pirk has been held without bail since his arrest in Florida last month.
Three other bikers, including Florida Kingsmen member Andre “Little Bear” Jenkins, who has already been convicted of assassinating the two local bikers, also appeared before Roemer on Wednesday.
After a series of disputes involving several Western New York Kingsmen chapters, Pirk and Jenkins are alleged to have traveled from Florida to Western New York in September 2014. Federal prosecutors allege that Pirk was the man who gave Jenkins the order to kill two fellow Kingsmen, Paul Maue of Buffalo, and Daniel “DJ” Szymanski of Amherst, early on the morning of Sept. 6.
Prosecutors and police say the two victims were both shot in the head as they sat in the front seats of Maue’s car. Police say Jenkins pulled out a gun and shot the two men after getting into the back seat of the car outside the Kingsmen clubhouse on Oliver Street in North Tonawanda.
Szymanski’s parents, Sigmund and Barbara Szymanski of Amherst, attended Jenkins’ murder trial last year. They were both in Roemer’s courtroom on Wednesday to watch the proceedings involving Pirk and Jenkins.
Inside her purse, Barbara Szymanski carried a small velvet bag with a rosary attached. She told a reporter that some of her murdered son’s cremains were inside the velvet bag.
“He goes with me everywhere,” she said. “We’re still fighting for our son.”
She said it was painful for her and her husband to sit a few feet from the man who has been convicted of killing her son and from the biker club president who is accused of ordering the hit.
“He took my son away from me,” said Szymanski, referring to Jenkins. “Of course, it’s hard for me.”
Prosecutors are waiting for a decision from U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch in Washington on whether the government will seek the death penalty against Pirk and Jenkins, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph M. Tripi told Roemer.
Pirk, who has done construction work and has run a tree service in Florida, is a man of medium build, about 5 feet, 8 inches tall, with long flowing white hair, a white beard and arms festooned with tattoos. He wore an orange jail jumpsuit during the court appearance, and his hands were shackled to a chain around his waist. He is represented by attorneys William Easton and Cheryl Meyers Buth, both of whom have extensive experience in potential death penalty cases.
Another Florida leader of the Kingsmen, Timothy “Blaze” Enix, 56, also pleaded not guilty. He told Roemer he has worked as an accountant, a Realtor and for an automobile company. Enix has hired defense attorney Terrence M. Connors, who made an unusual statement in the courtroom.
Noting that defendants sometimes cause trouble for themselves by talking to other inmates about their alleged crimes, Connors said: “I’m telling him right now, on the record, not to talk with any other inmates about this case.”
Also pleading not guilty Wednesday was Jack Frederick II, 45, a Kingsmen member from Tennessee. He appeared with his court-appointed attorney, John J. Molloy.
Roemer said he also will have detention hearings for Enix and Wood.
Sixteen bikers, all of whom deny wrongdoing, were indicted on federal charges last month after a lengthy investigation by the FBI-led Safe Streets Task Force.