Trial set for September in Derry Township fatal shooting
An Allegheny County man who claims he shot and killed a robber in self-defense will go to trial in the fall in Westmoreland County.
Ronell Moses, 22, of Penn Hills is charged with criminal homicide in the Dec. 29, 2012, death of Michael Volk. He will stand trial in September.
His defense attorney told Judge Rita Hathaway on Monday that his client has rejected a plea bargain that likely would have required him to admit guilt to a lesser charge.
Police contend Volk, 24, of West Wheatfield, Indiana County, stormed into a Derry Township mobile home, where Moses was staying, to steal his drugs and money.
Investigators said Moses shot Volk during the robbery, which Volk had plotted with three others. “You're not interested in a plea bargain?” Hathaway asked Moses during a pretrial hearing.
Moses told the judge she was correct.
Hathaway told Moses that prosecutors are expected to seek a conviction of first-degree murder, an intentional killing that carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Karen Patterson and defense attorney Leo Harper declined to reveal details of the proposed plea deal, which was not discussed in court.
Moses is the only person facing homicide charges in Volk's death.
Police initially charged Volk's alleged conspirators, Jesus Santiago, Tiffany Blattenberger and Danielle Clawson, with murder, but that charge was later dismissed.
Santiago, 43, of Derry pleaded guilty last week to robbery and conspiracy charges and was sentenced to serve 3 1⁄2 to7 years in prison.
Blattenberger, 23, of Derry and Clawson, 25, who lived with Volk in West Wheatfield, have cooperated with prosecutors. Their robbery cases are pending.
Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or email@example.com.
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.