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Feb 26, 2016 1:24 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Moriches Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For 2013 Home Invasion Killing In Eastport

Mar 2, 2016 12:16 PM

An East Moriches man was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Friday morning for his role in a 2013 Eastport home invasion that left a father of four dead.

Paul Batterson Jr., 24, who previously pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and first-degree assault, shot Francisco Pirir Canel, 45, in the face with a shotgun during a botched robbery attempt, instantly killing him.

A small crowd of Mr. Batterson’s friends and family fought to choke back tears during Friday’s sentencing, held in the courtroom of Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro, as Marcos Pirir, the younger brother of the victim, made a statement in Spanish through a translator.

“I don’t want to hold any grudge against this guy even though he killed my brother,” Marcos Pirir said as he cried. “I have forgiven him because I believe in God. My brother had four children who are without a father now, and I have to take care of them because they have nothing. I’m feeling really sad right now because I lost a person that I love very much.”

Prosecutors said Mr. Batterson and his friend Matthew Rooney, also 24, wore masks and were armed when they forced their way into an East Moriches Boulevard home in December 2013 just prior to the fatal shooting. They shot off the door hinges and shot through the windows of the home, which was being rented by seven people, before confronting and fatally shooting Mr. Pirir.

Mr. Rooney, who earlier pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter, was sentenced last week to 17 years in prison for his role in the crime. Although Mr. Rooney did not shoot the victim, prosecutors had argued that he was armed and present at the time of the murder.

After firing at several windows and the front door, Mr. Batterson and Mr. Rooney entered the home and demanded money from the seven occupants, including Mr. Pirir. When the Guatemalan native responded that he did not have any money and would be callingthe police, Mr. Batterson shot him in the face, killing him, according to prosecutors. Mr. Pirir’s uncle, Cipriano Pirir Patzan, was also injured in the blast.

During the ensuing investigation, police recovered a shotgun and “ballistic evidence” in Mr. Batterson’s home that is “consistent with the ballistic evidence recovered at the incident location,” according to court documents. Mr. Batterson was arrested in January 2014 and Mr. Rooney was arrested a month later.

The men attempted to rob the home’s occupants because they were looking for money, and Mr. Batterson was addicted to heroin and other narcotics at the time, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota. Mr. Clifford said he does not know why Mr. Batterson and Mr. Rooney targeted that specific house.

Court officials allowed Mr. Batterson’s handcuffs to be removed while he read a statement during Friday’s sentencing.

“Let me start off by saying how sorry I am for all the pain and suffering I caused,” Mr. Batterson said through tears. “A part of me, who I am, will never be the same.”

The speech was translated into Spanish for Mr. Pirir’s family to understand.

“I understand that no matter how long I serve and how much debt I pay to society, it will never bring Francisco back,” Mr. Batterson said. “There are no words to express my sorrow … The fact that Francisco’s life was taken away by my irresponsible actions will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Mr. Batterson also noted that he had no “ill intentions” against Mr. Pirir, who was employed as a landscaper, and that he was using drugs the night of the crime.

After Mr. Batterson’s apology, Judge Ambro said he would still be getting out of prison as a “relatively young man.” In 30 years, Mr. Batterson will be 54.

Prior to sending Mr. Batterson, the judge noted that the violent crime shows the drastic measures that some drug addicts will take to continue fueling their habit. “The degree of violence to get a couple of bucks for pills is just horrible,” Judge Ambro said.

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Long may he rot
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Feb 26, 16 3:16 PM
2 members liked this comment
Nothing I've read referred to a motive. Why on earth?
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 26, 16 7:59 PM
Cash
By LI native (127), LI on Feb 27, 16 4:24 AM
Bring back the death penalty. And make it swift.
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Feb 27, 16 10:52 PM
How can we call these two boys "Men"? They are just boys that never became men. How did they ever come to heroin and other drug addictions at their young ages? Where are the families who also bear responsibility for the actions of these two boys and also their schools and whoever else looked away or did not discipline them when they were growing up? Loss of life - tragic for the victim and his family. Now these two have lost their freedom and therefore a "normal" life. God knows what tutelage ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Mar 10, 16 1:23 PM
A 24 year-old male is not a boy. Part of this society's problems is this coddling attitude.
By Nukiepoo (123), Southampton on Mar 10, 16 8:30 PM
1 member liked this comment
They should get life.
By jjinhb (16), Hampton Bays on Mar 11, 16 12:43 PM