Prosecutors lack evidence in Derry Township murder case, lawyer says
The lawyer for a Derry Township man accused along with his girlfriend and two others of killing another man last year during a botched robbery said there is no evidence to substantiate the charges.
Attorney Bill Gallishen in court documents filed on Wednesday contended that prosecutors don't have enough evidence to prove Jesus Santiago, 42, was part of the Dec. 29 slaying of Michael Volk, 24.
Gallishen said prosecutors lack evidence that Santiago and his co-defendants attempted to rob Ronell Lamar Moses, who is accused of firing the shots that killed Volk, an alleged accomplice in the would-be robbery.
Police contend Danielle Leigh Clawson, 23, of West Wheatfield, Indiana County, drove Volk, her boyfriend, to Santiago's home, where he planned to rob Moses.
According to police, Santiago met Volk outside the home and Clawson left the residence with Santiago's girlfriend, Tiffany A. Blattenberger, 23, of Derry. They later returned and found Volk dead inside, police said.
Police said Clawson, Blattenberger and Santiago were held inside the mobile home at gunpoint by Moses, who demanded a cellphone and called someone for a ride.
The prosecution charged Santiago, Blattenberger and Clawson with first-degree murder and second-degree murder. According to testimony from a preliminary hearing in March, witnesses said Volk was shot by Moses.
Moses, 21, of Penn Hills faces a charge of first-degree murder and has claimed he shot Volk in self-defense.
“The evidence as presented does not show that the defendant either killed the victim or ... (acted) as an accomplice or conspirator in the perpetration of the homicide,” Gallishen wrote.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.