According to Suffolk County District Attorney Tom Spota, Paul Batterson, 22, was charged with the two counts of murder in the second degree, a felony, for the shooting death of Francisco Pirir-Canel, 45, on Dec. 8. According to the indictment, which was unsealed Thursday, he was also charged with two counts of assault in the first degree, a felony.
Suffolk County Senior Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe said Batterson and a co-defendant were yelling outside the home, and then proceeded to shoot out the windows and door, before kicking in the door of the residence and demanding money during the incident, which occurred at 3:24 a.m. on East Moriches Boulevard.
"When the victim said he had no money and was going to call the police, the defendant shot him in the face, killing him instantly," Newcombe said.
A second victim was struck in the hand during the home invasion, the ADA said.
The masked defendants then fled the scene, she said.
According to Newcombe, Batterson made admissions to others about his role in the crime; a search warrant of his home also uncovered the murder weapon and other evidence, she said. The ADA asked that Batterson be held without bail.
Batterson's attorney, Edward Burke Jr., said that his client wished to plead not guilty and asked that bail be considered, based on that fact that his client lives with his parents near the court and works as a carpenter and window washer, with no prior convictions. Batterson, Burke said, has the support of his family, many of whom were present in the courtroom.
Burke also said his client would wear a monitoring device such as an ankle bracelet and would be present for all court appearances.
"He knows the gravity of the situation," he said.
Due to the "brutal" nature of the crime, Ambro ordered that Batterson be held without bail.
"My client firmly denies any involvement," Burke said. He added that he and his client looked forward to the discovery phase of proceedings.
Outside the courtroom, Batterson's parents, surrounded by family and friends, left, heads down, his mother wiping away tears. They declined when asked to comment.
A conference date was set for Feb. 28.