2 arson cases, 1 fatal, against Jeannette man to be tried together | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

2 arson cases, 1 fatal, against Jeannette man to be tried together

Renatta Signorini
1701079_web1_brianrendon
Tribune-Review file
Brian Eric Rendon arrives at his preliminary hearing escorted by Westmoreland County sheriff’s deputies on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018. He is accused of setting a fire in Jeannette that killed a woman and injured her granddaughter.

Two arson cases against a Jeannette man, including one in which an elderly woman died, will be tried together, a Westmoreland County judge ruled this week.

Brian Rendon, 35, had sought stand trial separately on the accusations.

Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio said the fires occurred within two days of each other, making them part of the same act.

“Both fires were allegedly started in a similar manner by defendant and due to the same motive,” she wrote in an opinion filed Wednesday. “The … witnesses are mostly identical and the lead investigator and fire marshal are the same in each case. The Commonwealth also intends to present the testimony of defendant’s maintenance man in both cases.”

Rendon allegedly set fire to a couch in front of his home on April 7, 2018. Two days later, he is accused of starting a fire that burned row houses on South Seventh Street.

Shirley Kocherhans, 87, was found dead inside her row house. A woman who lived with her was injured. About a dozen residents were left homeless. Rendon is facing a homicide count in that case, in addition to numerous other offenses, including arson, aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

His attorneys had argued that Rendon should be awarded two trials because the accusations are separate acts and evidence of each would not be admissible during trial in the other case. Bilik-DeFazio disagreed.

The cases are tentatively set for trial in November.

In July, Rendon was deemed competent to stand trial.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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 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.