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  • CRIMINAL COURTS

    Jury deadlocks in Hesperia murder case

    Man shot to death during scuffle over alleged construction debt
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  • VICTORVILLE — After more than three days of deliberating, and with questions about the definition of “imminent danger,” a jury was unable to agree on either of two charges levied against a man accused of killing another in a dispute over a construction debt.
    Jurors announced late last week they were deadlocked on a verdict in the case against 34-year-old Moses Echavarria, who is charged with murder and assault with a firearm on a person, court records show.
    In December 2011, Andrew Battaglia, 29, and three others arrived at Echavarria’s home in Hesperia to settle an alleged construction debt owed to one of Battaglia’s companions.
    A scuffle broke out soon after they arrived; a 58-year-old victim who accompanied Battaglia was beaten in the face and Battaglia was shot, authorities said.
    San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies then were called to the home in the 16600 block of Sequoia Street, but Battaglia’s friends by then had transported the shooting victim to Desert Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
    The hung jury announcement Thursday came on the 13th day of the trial, which had featured testimony from Echavarria, sheriff’s officials, expert witnesses and others, according to court records.
    A trial with brand-new jurors could possibly begin as early as July 28, court records show.
    Echavarria remained in custody at West Valley Detention Center on Monday in lieu of $1.5 million bail, according to jail records.
    Shea Johnson may be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_Shea.
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