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Penn Hills man wanted in Derry Township murder

| Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, 5:40 p.m.
Ronell Moses Jr., 20, of Penn Hills, is wanted in connection with a Derry Township homicide on Dec. 29.

A Penn Hills man is accused of shooting and killing an Indiana County man during a botched robbery Saturday and then holding the victim's friends at gunpoint before he fled from a mobile home in Derry Township.

State police at Greensburg filed an arrest warrant Wednesday for Ronell Lamar Moses Jr., 20, of Hamilton Drive, Penn Hills. Trooper Steve Limani said the suspect is considered to be armed and dangerous.

Moses had not been arrested as of late Wednesday.

Police said the victim, Michael Matthew Volk, 24, of Gamble Road, West Wheatfield, and three others conspired to rob Moses, whom they barely knew, of money and heroin.

Moses was staying at 131 Quarry Road in the village of Torrance, just outside Blairsville, to sell the drugs, according to police.

Danielle Leigh Clawson, 23, also of West Wheatfield, allegedly drove Volk, her boyfriend, to the Quarry Road home, where he planned to rob the man originally identified by witnesses as “Mitch,” police said.

Volk met up with Jesus Santiago, 42, who resided at the home, and both went inside, police said.

Clawson left the residence with Santiago's paramour, Tiffany A. Blattenberger, 22, and they returned a short time later to find Volk lying dead inside, according to police.

“Santiago opened the door and was visibly upset,” a police affidavit said. “Santiago stated that ‘Mitch' had shot Volk.”

Police identified “Mitch” as Moses after disseminating a surveillance photo taken at the Wal-Mart near Blairsville on Friday night, when he and Volk walked together through the store.

Clawson, Blattenberger and Santiago allegedly were held inside the mobile home at gunpoint by Moses, who demanded a cellphone. Moses got a ride and fled with the phone and a silver handgun, police allege.

Blattenberger and Santiago's two children were at home during the incident. The toddlers are with relatives, police said.

Moses shot Volk in the head and stomach, according to a criminal complaint. He was pronounced dead at the scene by a Westmoreland County deputy coroner.

Moses is charged with homicide, kidnapping, unlawful possession of a firearm and terroristic threats.

Clawson and Blattenberger identified Moses as their intended robbery target and assailant from a photo line-up, police said.

Also facing charges in connection with the incident are Clawson, Blattenberger and Santiago, who are being held in the Westmoreland County jail without bail.

All three were charged Sunday with homicide, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. They are charged with homicide because they plotted the robbery that led to Volk's death, police said.

Preliminary hearings before Derry Township District Judge Mark Bilik are scheduled for Jan. 9.

The group had only just met Moses. Santiago told police he received a phone call Friday from a white male who stated that “Mitch” would be staying with Santiago to distribute narcotics, according to court documents. Moses is awaiting arraignment for a flight to avoid apprehension charge filed by Pittsburgh police on Nov. 19, according to online court records. Moses posted $10,000 bond in August. His arraignment, originally scheduled for Dec. 31, was rescheduled for Feb. 4.

Robbery charges filed against Moses by Pittsburgh police in July 2011 were withdrawn last August, according to court records.

C. Frederick Bowser Funeral Home in Homer City is handling private funeral services for Volk. An obituary on the home's website said that Volk played football at Blairsville Area High School and was employed at Finzer Roller in Blacklick. He is survived by two children.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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