Judge: Jury can consider self-defense during deliberations in Warlocks MC shooting

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SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. —

A judge denied a motion Tuesday for a jury to consider the stand your ground law in the murder trial of a former Warlocks Motorcycle Club member.

The judge, however, said the jury can consider self-defense in Philadelphia Warlock David Maloney's trial.

The jury might be able to take that into consideration as early as Wednesday. Testimony wrapped up late Tuesday afternoon and closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Maloney's attorneys argued Tuesday that Maloney fired his gun while standing his ground against the rival Orlando Warlocks who showed up during a charity bike event at the Winter Springs Veterans of Foreign Wars post.

Three people died in the 2012 shootout.

Maloney, who was once a member of the Orlando Warlocks, told the judge that it was his choice to testify. He told the jurors he feared for his life from possible retribution by his former club and only pulled the trigger to defend himself.

Maloney testified that members of the Florida Warlocks had threatened his life for nearly two years through text messages and phone calls. He said they shot up his house after he left the club.

According to Maloney, he bought a bullet-proof vest and would change his route to work. He said he felt like he was a hostage in his own home and so he formed the Philly Warlocks.

"They've told us numerous times they wanted us dead. They told me I had to leave the state of Florida. Shutting us down meant they were going to kill us," Maloney said.

Maloney said he had heard there would be a confrontation between the rival groups at his club's charity poker run.

He testified he went to the event armed with two guns knowing his former club planned to crash the charity poker run and, he believed, kill him.

"Someone yelled in the door, 'Warlocks are here,'" Maloney said. "As I got to the door I heard one or two rounds go off."

Maloney demonstrated to the jury how he took aim as he took cover in the VFW parking lot, dodging bullets whizzing by him and shattering car windows.

Maloney claims he didn't shoot any of the three victims.

"Did you fire that round or two rounds for any other reason than to protect yourself and people with you?" an attorney asked Maloney in court.

"It was all in self-defense," Maloney said.

Prosecutors argued the event was an ambush by Maloney's group.

Maloney was initially charged with three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder, but the judge on Monday granted direct acquittal on one count of second-degree murder. The judge said that Peter Schlette, one of the people killed in the shooting, died before Maloney was outside.

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