The 22-year-old East Moriches man accused of fatally shooting a father of four in his Eastport home during a botched burglary in December was indicted by a grand jury on Friday on three additional felonies, including a second count of second-degree murder, officials said.
Paul Batterson is now scheduled to be arraigned on the charges in Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverhead on Thursday, January 30, before Judge Richard Ambro. The indictment will remain sealed until after the arraignment, according to Bob Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Mr. Batterson is now expected to be arraigned on two counts of second-degree murder under different subsections of the state’s penal law; the first count charges that he intended to kill a person, while the second charges that he murdered someone while committing other felonies.
Mr. Batterson was also indicted on two counts of first-degree assault, also a felony, for “intending to cause serious injury to a person by means of a dangerous weapon,” and for causing serious injury to a person while committing a felony, according to the state penal law.
If convicted, Mr. Batterson could face life in prison.
Suffolk County Police arrested him on January 18 after they found a shotgun and other “ballistic evidence” in the home he shares with his parents, tying him to the crime, according to court documents.
He was arraigned on one count of second-degree murder in 1st District Court on January 19 and remanded to Suffolk County Jail in Riverside without bail.
Eric Besso, Mr. Batterson’s attorney, has not returned multiple calls seeking comment since his client’s arrest.
Police said Mr. Batterson and an accomplice blasted through the door of the Eastport home on East Moriches Boulevard at around 3:25 a.m. on December 8 and encountered Francisco Pirir, one of the home’s tenants, in the living room. When Mr. Pirir, 45, refused to hand over money and threatened to call the police, Mr. Batterson shot him in the face, police said.
Suffolk County Police Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick, the commander of the department’s Homicide Squad, said he could not offer additional details about what led police to Mr. Batterson, who fled the scene after the incident. Lt. Fitzpatrick, who said the investigation was ongoing, has declined to say whether detectives were close to making a second arrest.
Mr. Pirir’s uncle also suffered a hand injury from a shotgun blast. Officials said the two men, who worked as landscapers and had family in Guatemala, lived in the home with five other people.