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St. Petersburg bar manager faces manslaughter charge in panhandler’s death

Witnesses told police that the manager pushed the panhandler to the ground while removing him from the premises. The panhandler fell, hit his head and later died.
Darren McFarland, 54, of St. Petersburg, is charged with manslaughter in the death of a panhandler.
Darren McFarland, 54, of St. Petersburg, is charged with manslaughter in the death of a panhandler. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Feb. 11
Updated Feb. 13

ST. PETERSBURG — A downtown bar manager was arrested Thursday on a manslaughter charge after he pushed a panhandler to the ground while removing him from the premises, police said.

Darren McFarland, 54, of St. Petersburg, was the manager at Hops and Props, 335 Second Ave. NE when the incident took place on the afternoon of Feb. 3.

Bruce Senesac, 63, was panhandling at the bar when McFarland tried to remove him, according to St. Petersburg police.

Witnesses later told police that McFarland “struck Senesac, causing him to fall backwards and hit his head on the ground,” police said.

Senesac was unresponsive when officers arrived. He was taken to the hospital but never regained consciousness, police said, and died on Tuesday.

McFarland was booked into the Pinellas County jail. He was released Thursday night after posting $10,000 bail.