Longwood biker acquitted of murder wants his guns back

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A jury acquitted motorcycle club member David Maloney on charges that he murdered two people during a shootout at the VFW parking lot in Winter Springs in 2012.

Now he wants his guns back.

There are five: three handguns and two 12-gauge shotguns.

Circuit Judge Marlene Alva has scheduled a hearing Tuesday to decide whether he’ll get them.

“He’s entitled to have them back, the same as any other citizen,” said defense attorney Michael LaFay, “particularly given what I would say was a steady drumbeat of threats that he’s been receiving.”

In September, Maloney asked the judge to return the guns, and she initially said yes, but the Clerk of Court’s office, which has possession of them, would not surrender them.

That’s because they were entered as evidence at the trials of two co-defendants currently serving long prison terms for the same shootout. By law the clerk is required to hold onto evidence until a convict completes his sentence, according to Deputy Clerk Damaris Rivera.

Maloney, 57, of Longwood could not be reached for comment.

He was acquitted of two counts of murder at his 2014 trial, but the jury was unable to decide whether he was guilty of attempted murder for shooting at someone else during the gun battle.

In August, Maloney resolved that charge by pleading no contest to aggravated assault and was given a sentence that required no additional jail time. He had spent more than 18 months in the Seminole County Jail awaiting trial.

At that trial he testified that when he heard gunfire at the VFW that day, Sept. 30, 2012, he rushed outside and fired one or two shots. The gunfire he heard – unbeknownst to him - had come from a member of his own club.

Maloney told jurors that he believed the rival gang, the Florida Warlocks, had come to kill him and he fired in self-defense.

The Florida Warlocks had kicked him out in 2010, he testified, and since then, he was the subject of repeated death threats. Several months before the VFW shootout, someone shot at his house three times while he was inside, Longwood police reported.

“I’m the victim. I’ve been the victim the whole time,” Maloney said in August.

He also said in August that even though he did not have the guns that were seized the day of the shootout, he did have a gun, something he called his lawful right.

The co-defendants who were convicted are Victor Amaro, 46, of Winter Springs, who was sentenced to life in prison for two counts of second-degree murder; and Robert Eckert, 42 of Longwood, who is serving 27 years after being convicted of two counts of manslaughter.

Both were found guilty of killing the same Florida Warlocks, David Jakiela, 52, an Orlando architect, and Harold Liddle, 46 of Tavares.

After the Florida Warlocks kicked out Maloney, he formed a break-away group, the Philly Warlocks, and the two clubs came face to face in the VWF parking lot.

Prosecutors said that Maloney’s club ambushed the Florida Warlocks that day, killing three of them. The third victim was Peter “Hormone” Schlette, 50, of Denham Springs, La.

Maloney’s club had 15 guns vs. two for the rival group.

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Rene Stutzman
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