Appeals court upholds Kingsmen hitman's life sentences

In this file photo from 2015, Andre Jenkins walks out of a Niagara County Court room in Lockport after being sentenced to life in prison. The Kingsmen Motorcycle Club member was previously convicted of shooting two fellow members of the club's North Tonawanda chapter.

BUFFALO — A hitman for the Kingsmen Motorcycle Club convicted of killing two men in North Tonawanda will spend the rest of his life in prison.

An appeals court ruled this week that Andre Jenkins' sentence was “not unduly harsh or severe.”

A jury convicted Jenkins seven years ago of killing Daniel “DJ” Szymanski, 31, of Getzville, and Paul Maue, 38, of Buffalo, with single gunshots to the back of the head behind the Kingsmen clubhouse in North Tonawanda on Sept. 6, 2014.

The killings prompted a federal investigation of the Kingsmen as an organized crime enterprise. Its national president was convicted in 2018 of ordering the killings.

In 2019 and already serving a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole, for the North Tonawanda double murder, Jenkins faced U.S. District Court Judge Elizabeth Wolford  as she prepared to sentence him for his conviction in federal court on charges of racketeering conspiracy, possession of firearms in furtherance of crime of violence, murder in aid of racketeering, possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, using and maintaining premises for drug dealing and possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Wolford handed down a punishment of five life prison sentences, three of them to run consecutively and an additional 10 years behind bars.

“Your moral compass is just out of whack,” Wolford said. “You are a dangerous individual who’s going to spend the rest of your life in prison. You’re going to die in prison.”

Jenkins just stared straight ahead as Wolford spoke. His defense lawyers, Michael Deal and Barry Covert, had prepared him for what he faced.

“There is no doubt in my mind that you killed Mr. Maue and Mr. Syymanski,” Wolford said. “You know you did it and I know you did it and you have no remorse for that heinous act.”

Jenkins, a so-called “nomad” member of the Kingsmen, to the end, denied being a killer.

“I know what I’ve done in my life and what I haven’t done,” Jenkins, 40, told Wolfiord during the sentencing in 2019. “I’m sorry that this happened to DJ and Pauly. I did not kill DJ and Pauly. I get it, I get it. The victims’ families deserve justice and I’m gonna be it. They know I would never hurt a person I call my brother.”

Investigators and prosecutors said the Kingsmen spiraled out of control when Kingsmen National President David Pirk came to power and determined the club should become a “1 percent” or outlaw biker gang.

Investigators believed that Maue and Szymanski were murdered because they planned to leave the Kingsmen club to join another group of bikers. The execution style “hit” was designed to “send a message” to other members that they need to “Live Kingsmen, die Kingsmen.”

“Your intent,” Wolford told Jenkins, “was to protect the club. Instead, (the murders of Maue and Szymanski) destroyed the club.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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