Home Pub bar Man sentenced to stand trial for homicide in Upper Burrell bar shooting

Man sentenced to stand trial for homicide in Upper Burrell bar shooting

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A bartender testified on Tuesday that Daniel Moles sipped bourbon at Woodpeckers Pub & Grub in Upper Burrell for several hours on the evening of Nov. 13 and chatted with patrons before pointing a gun at twin brothers sitting across from it from the bar and fire two shots, killing one of them.

District Judge Cheryl Peck-Yakopec ordered Moles, 62, of Dogwood Lane, Upper Burrell, to stand trial for criminal homicide in connection with the shooting death of 31-year-old Randy Jenereaux.

Moles was also ordered to stand trial on an attempted criminal homicide charge that was requested during his preliminary hearing on Tuesday. The charge was added at the request of Westmoreland County Assistant District Attorney Judith Petrush.

Tiffany McCormick testified that she tended the bar during the 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. shift and that “Danny”, whom she knew as a regular customer, was already there when she arrived.

She served him two shots of about 2 ounces of neat Jim Beam whiskey over a four-hour period, but was unsure if another bartender working that night had served Moles alcohol. The other bartender did not testify.

“He was talking to everyone like he normally did,” she said, noting that at some point Moles went from drinking whiskey to ordering water.

McCormick testified that prior to the shooting, the Jenereaux brothers sat at the elbow of the horseshoe-shaped bar, drinking beer and eating nachos.

She said the moles were across the bar towards the end of one of the horseshoe legs.

“I was standing at the cash register and I heard a loud bang,” she said. “I was really confused. There was broken glass, and I saw Danny sitting there with a gun. I ducked down and heard a second shot.

McCormick said patrons fled the bar. She called 911 when she saw several patrons disarming Moles and restraining him.

She testified that the brothers ran out of the building through a door near where they were seated immediately after the first shot, leaving a trail of blood behind them.

Moles’ public defender Gregory Cecchetti repeatedly asked McCormick if she saw Moles and the Jenereaux arguing or having physical contact, or if Moles had a verbal or physical argument with anyone else at the bar.

She answered “No” to each of the questions, adding, “I didn’t see or hear anything.”

Investigators said in the criminal complaint charging Moles that he and the Jenereaux brothers did not know each other and had no interaction at the bar.

Upper Burrell Police Chief Kenneth Pate, who filed the complaint against Moles, estimated that Moles was sitting about 25 feet from the Jenereaux brothers at an angle of about 45 degrees when he fired a semi pistol -automatic caliber .45 Kimber. He said the gun was legally registered with Moles.

The Westmoreland County coroner said Jenereaux died of a gunshot wound to the chest and ruled his death a homicide.

Pate testified that he viewed a 35-second video clip from one of 10 security cameras installed in the bar that shows the shooting.

Video from the cameras was stored on a DVR and is being reviewed by Westmoreland County detectives, who Pate has asked to help with the case. The recording system does not capture sound.

Pate said the part of the video he watched started with moles already pointing the gun at the brothers before pulling the trigger.

He said Moles then “followed” the two men with the gun as they fled through a doorway about 6ft away before firing a second shot.

A slug was recovered from the panic bar on the door, the chief said.

Pate said there were no other patrons near the two brothers when Moles fired the shots.

After Jenereaux was shot, his twin brother, Andy, tried to rush him to the hospital.

He reached Third Avenue in New Kensington before his brother lost consciousness. Kensington’s new ambulance service responded and began treating Jenereaux, but he died at the scene, according to Moles’ arrest papers.

Jenereaux attended the hearing but was not called to testify.

Afterwards, he said he was heartbroken over the loss of his brother.

“I lived with him; I worked with him. We did everything together,” he said. “We were together before we were even born.”

Jenereaux said he still doesn’t understand what could have motivated Moles to shoot them.

“We didn’t do anything to him,” he said. “Nothing happened that night that could have led to this.”

Jenereaux said he was grateful for the outpouring of support from community members who rallied around the family after their loss.

“I hope (Moles) will understand what is happening to him,” he said.

Investigators did not cite a motive or reason in the complaint why Moles allegedly started shooting in the bar.

A search of online court records revealed no previous mole arrests. He also does not appear to have any active social media accounts.

Moles did not speak when reporters asked for comment as he was escorted out of the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies to be taken back to Westmoreland County Jail, where he has been held since bail was denied when arraigned.

He faces a formal arraignment on March 30 on the charges.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Tony at 724-772-6368, [email protected] or via Twitter .