|
HesperiaStar.com
  • Shooting victim's brother devastated by hung jury

    • email print
      Comment
  • HESPERIA — The brother of shooting victim Andrew Battaglia called it “devastating” that a jury couldn’t reach a verdict on either of two charges levied against his brother’s accused killer in what was reportedly a scuffle-turned-deadly over an alleged construction debt.
    With questions about the definition of “imminent danger,” jurors announced June 19 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.
    According to authorities, Battaglia, 29, and three others arrived in December 2011 at Echavarria’s home in Hesperia to settle the debt owed to a Battaglia companion. A scuffle broke out soon after they arrived; a 58-year-old victim was beaten in the face and Battaglia was shot, authorities said.
    Thomas Battaglia, 34, told the Daily Press this week that the 58-year-old man was owed the debt and had actually been invited to the home by Echavarria to settle it. Andrew Battaglia and two others waited in a nearby car when Echavarria began punching the 58-year-old in the face, Thomas Battaglia said.
    Andrew Battaglia left the car to help, to break up the fight, and was shot while intervening, Thomas Battaglia said.
    A message left for the case’s prosecutor on Thursday was not immediately returned. A woman who answered the phone at the office of Echavarria’s attorney said the attorney would not comment.
    San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies were called to the home in the 16600 block of Sequoia Street, but Andrew Battaglia’s friends by then had transported the shooting victim to Desert Valley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
    The hung jury announcement 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 new jurors could begin as early as July 28, court records show.
    Echavarria remained in custody at West Valley Detention Center on Thursday with bail set at $1.5 million, according to jail records.
    Shea Johnson may be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at @DP_Shea.
    " data-width="650" data-numposts="20" data-colorscheme="light">