Local Wire

Centerfolds Cabaret Employees Plead Not Guilty in Firefighter Murder Case

Phoenix strip club Centerfolds Cabaret.
Phoenix strip club Centerfolds Cabaret. Benjamin Leatherman
click to enlarge Phoenix strip club Centerfolds Cabaret. - BENJAMIN LEATHERMAN
Phoenix strip club Centerfolds Cabaret.
Benjamin Leatherman
Employees of Phoenix strip joint Centerfolds Cabaret have pled not guilty to charges in connection with the recent beating death of an off-duty firefighter at the club.

Centerfolds manager Timothy Piegari and doorman Brandon Draper entered their respective pleas in the case during an appearance in Maricopa Country Superior Court on Tuesday.

Both are charged with felonies for their alleged involvement in the January 21 death of Luke Jones, an employee of the Daisy Mountain Fire Department, who was a patron of the club and died after being assaulted in the parking lot.

Draper, 26, is accused of second-degree murder after allegedly pushing Jones to the ground and repeatedly striking him, including several blows to head, according to the Phoenix Police Department. Jones reportedly was wearing a brace on his left arm at the time.

Piegari, 42, was charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution. Police say the Centerfolds manager allegedly disconnected the club’s security cameras after the assault took place but before officers arrived on the scene.

click to enlarge The mugshots of Timothy Piegari (left) and Brandon Draper (right). - MARICOPA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
The mugshots of Timothy Piegari (left) and Brandon Draper (right).
Maricopa County Sheriff's Office
The next court appearance for both Piegari and Draper is on March 21 for a pre-trial conference with lawyers from the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

Draper is currently still in police custody on a $250,000 bond. He also reportedly has claimed indigent status and will be represented in his case by a public defender.

As New Times previously reported, Centerfolds Cabaret was closed down by its owners on January 30 after state officials suspended the club’s liquor license in response to Piegari and Draper’s arrests.
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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.