Friday, December 19, 2014

Deputy District Attorney Carrie Halgrimson obtains 1st degree murder conviction in the case of a Hesperia man who was killed over a dispute about a construction debt


Hesperia man convicted of murder
Jurors return guilty verdict in 2011 shooting death

VICTORVILLE — A 35-year-old Hesperia man was found guilty Thursday of first-degree murder in a reported scuffle-turned-deadly over an alleged construction debt.

Moses Echavarria was convicted of shooting to death Andrew Battaglia, 29, (pictured left) in December 2011.

Jurors deliberated for three days before returning guilty verdicts on charges of murder and assault with a firearm, court records show.

Echavarria is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30.

The verdict signals the end to criminal proceedings that began three years ago, and had resulted in a hung jury this summer.

On June 19, a jury announced they were deadlocked on a verdict amid questions about the definition of “imminent danger.” A re-trial began the following month.

Jurors this time were initially undecided whether the murder was premeditated or not, one of the jurors told the Daily Press on Thursday. The juror spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

According to authorities, Battaglia 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.

Battaglia’s brother, Thomas Battaglia, told the Daily Press in June 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, he said.

Andrew Battaglia left the car to help, to break up the fight, and was shot while intervening, according to Thomas Battaglia.

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