Suspect admits running down bikers in Florida

Saturday, November 1, 2003

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- A man accused of deliberately ramming a stolen pickup truck into six Outlaws motorcycle gang members, killing two, apologized from jail and said he wants to be executed.

"I did it," Timothy Pilgreen told The News Herald of Panama City for Friday's editions. "I wish I hadn't, but I did. My lawyer told me to keep my mouth shut, but I gotta say it, I just got to: I'm sorry."

Pilgreen, 26, said he would ask for the death penalty because he fears retribution from the gang after admitting he ran over the bikers Wednesday as they rode on a coastal highway in nearby Panama City Beach.

"Dudes in jail been telling me they're going to kill me, but I ain't scared," Pilgreen said. "They want to stab me, I'll stab back."

Pilgreen is being held without bond on two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder and other felony charges stemming from a scuffle with an officer who chased and arrested him.

Deputy Police Chief David Humphreys said he has seen more bikers in town since the incident.

"It's our hope that they would allow this to be handled by law enforcement and the judicial system instead of it getting to a street-level thing," he said.

Pilgreen said his argument with the bikers began after he went to a public pier and tried to sell them a silver certificate, a no-longer-issued form of paper money. "They didn't like that I called them old, and one of these guys hauls off and punches me in the chest," he said.

He said the bikers then laughed at him, hopped on their motorcycles and rode off.

"I was just enraged," Pilgreen said. "Just so mad and drunk that when they took off, I started following them."

"It was madness," he said. "I just closed my eyes and pushed the gas and blam, blam, blam, just like that."

Police said the six bikers were from the Outlaws chapter in Bay City, Mich. Nola Zietler, 47, of Bay City, and Donald Dunham, 61, of Brethren, Mich., were killed. Another biker, Larry Berryman, 57, of St. Ignace, Mich., was hospitalized in critical condition Friday.

Pilgreen said he had stolen the truck after arguing with his wife and trashing the house two weeks ago in Texarkana, Ark. He blamed his rage on a history of drugs, alcohol and childhood abuse.

"I realize I made a mistake," he said. "I know I did something I shouldn't have and I know I can't take it back. I just wish I could. I'm not a bad person, but I've been so lost and so hopeless for so long."

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