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Jan 21, 2014 7:03 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Moriches Man Held Without Bail In Fatal Eastport Shooting

Jan 22, 2014 9:36 AM

A 22-year-old East Moriches man is facing second-degree murder charges for the December slaying of a father of four in a home invasion killing that shook the Eastport community.

Paul Batterson Jr., who Suffolk County Police said lives with his parents in their East Moriches home, was remanded to the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside without bail following his arraignment Sunday morning in the 1st District Court in Central Islip before Judge Paul M. Hensley.

If convicted of the shooting that claimed the life of 45-year-old Francisco Pirir, a landscaper from Guatemala, Mr. Batterson could face up to 25 years in prison. He did not enter a plea during Sunday’s proceedings and is due back in court in Central Islip on Friday.

His attorney, Eric Besso, who has offices in Sayville, declined to comment after Sunday’s court proceedings, and did not immediately return calls on Tuesday seeking comment.

Suffolk County Police said Mr. Batterson and a still unidentified accomplice, both wearing masks, blasted through the front door of a house on East Moriches Boulevard in Eastport at around 3:25 a.m. on December 8.

The burglars encountered Mr. Pirir in the living room of the rental home that he shared with six other people, including his uncle. When Mr. Pirir refused to hand over money and threatened to call the police, Mr. Batterson killed him with a shotgun blast to the head, according to the felony complaint.

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 the same felony complaint. The report, however, does not explain how many shots were fired during the break-in, or if Mr. Batterson was the only one to discharge a weapon during the confrontation.

Authorities also have not explained why Mr. Batterson and his accomplice targeted the home, and they have not clarified if any money was taken during break-in.

Mr. Pirir’s uncle suffered a hand injury from a shotgun blast, but it is unknown if he was injured when the suspects blasted open the front door or when his nephew was shot.

When reached Monday, Suffolk County Police Lieutenant Jack Fitzpatrick, the commander of the department’s Homicide Squad, said he could not comment on the arrest or how detectives were led to Mr. Batterson. He also declined to comment on whether detectives were close to making a second arrest, noting that the investigation is “ongoing.”

Officials said a grand jury likely would be convened to consider the evidence against Mr. Batterson.

No one answered the door at the Battersons’ two-story home on Woodfern Lane in East Moriches on Monday morning, which is about a mile from where the fatal shooting occurred.

Ruth Wagner, who lives across the street from the Batterson home, said she was surprised to hear the news of the arrest. “He grew up here and he was a great kid,” she said of the suspect, whose occupation is unknown.

Other neighbors on the same block said they did not know the family, or declined to comment on the arrest. “I can just tell you it’s a tragedy,” said one neighbor, who declined to give her name. “It’s a really, really sad tragedy. That’s all.”

Sister Margaret Smyth, the director of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, said Tuesday that Mr. Pirir’s brother, Marcos Pirir, who also lived in the Eastport home, said he did not know or recognize Mr. Batterson when he saw him in court on Sunday.

“They are very sad, but they were very, very happy that they found at least one person to start,” Sister Smyth said of Mr. Pirir’s family. “You can tell the family is just so depressed because it was such a trauma ... It really was such a trauma that I haven’t seen Marcos smile yet.”

She added that donations for the family poured in from across Long Island and covered the more than $6,000 needed to hold services and transport Francisco Pirir’s body to his native Guatemala, with some left over for his family. Larry and Toni Citarelli, owners of Citarelli’s Gourmet Deli on Montauk Highway in Eastport, helped raise money by placing a plastic jug inside their store.

“At least we know that, for a while, his wife and children will at least have something,” Sister Smyth said.

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Great police work
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 14 10:14 AM
2 members liked this comment
GOTCHA! The only punishment these types fear is hanging by the neck...how about that new injection that "almost" worked fast? When you shoot a person in the face with a shotgun, I'm not so sure you deserve a quick and painless lethal injection. Time to put a little pain back into the punishment. How about public stoning in a pit in front of the courthouse IMMEDIATELY following the guilty verdict? No more jaming up the courts with endless appeals. They could use a touch of this in NJ, too, ...more
By Dodger (161), Southampton Village on Jan 19, 14 10:18 AM
His parents must be very proud!
By Robert I Ross (250), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 14 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
No one raises their children to be killers. Very insensitive comment as I'm sure they are beyond devastated
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jan 20, 14 10:30 AM
Second masked man not feeling too comfortable right now.
By traffic (26), Southampton on Jan 19, 14 11:22 AM
1 member liked this comment
Well done.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 19, 14 11:42 AM
No one questioned his immigration status?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 14 11:45 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 19, 14 10:29 PM
1 member liked this comment
PS -- everyone should "Like" each Captn America comment, so he (she?) can EXPOSE who voted for him/her!

[click on the green "Thumbs Up" icon, and the names of the Likers will be revealed. Ooooo, so thrilling for the Captn . . . ]
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 19, 14 10:33 PM
Yes, your point was well taken. Policing who Likes any particular comment, however, is over the edge IMO.

I see that my earlier comment was deleted, as well it should have been for also being over the edge. I allowed myself myself to be sucked into the gutter one more time . . . Apologies.

That you just posted "Thrilling!!" says it all . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 20, 14 7:57 AM
I click on like by accident all the time..dont hold it against me.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Jan 20, 14 10:32 AM
Great job SCPD.......
By rjhdad (73), southampton on Jan 19, 14 12:38 PM
What happened to innocent until proven guilty we are talking about a 22year old kid....let's hear the whole story before we condemn him and his family...just because a reporter goes in front of a camera and gives you a select few details doesn't mean we know what happened...think before you comment!!!
By N1234 (1), Oakdale on Jan 19, 14 6:08 PM
Yes, that mugshot screams wrongfully accused.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Jan 19, 14 10:07 PM
1 member liked this comment
To me, that mugshot actually looks photoshopped.... but I'm no expert.

By user.name (46), the jungle on Jan 20, 14 10:15 AM
"In court today, prosecutors said the shotgun allegedly used in the crime was discovered at Batterson's home, along with other evidence allegedly linked to the murder scene.

Batterson has been charged with second-degree murder and was remanded without bail today. His father appeared in court and declined to comment.

Batterson's attorney also refused to comment, and he pushed and attempted to cover up a News 12 camera with a notepad he was holding.

Another man, Shane Moore, ...more
By Q333 (161), Southampton on Jan 19, 14 7:25 PM
1 member liked this comment
Under certain facts, one does not need to have pulled the trigger to be charged with murder along with the hit man.
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 19, 14 11:01 PM
Yes, it's generally termed "Felony Murder," and even extends t instances where two or more bad guys attempt to commit a Felony, and one of them is killed during the commission of that crime. The surviving bad guy can be charged with Felony Murder.

I believe that more than 40 states have such a statute on their books.
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Jan 19, 14 11:53 PM
And in such FM cases the first murder charge tends to produce additional leads and evidence, perhaps even a confession along with a plea bargain . . .
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 20, 14 8:10 AM
Well Done, S.C.P.D.!
By elliot (254), sag harbor on Jan 19, 14 8:05 PM
Does anyone happen to know if Paul is a duck hunter?
By Moneybogue (37), Westhampton Beach on Jan 19, 14 10:56 PM
White guy... So there will be no racist comments about welfare, immigration, or how the town has changed. No call to arms to fix or change things.
By deelove (152), Bridgehampton on Jan 20, 14 6:51 AM
2 members liked this comment
Funny that you appear to be attempting to thwart racist comments, yet your first observation is "White guy," as opposed to, perhaps, "human being [and it is not important to observe either his skin color/tone or apparent ethnicity . . . ] "
By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jan 20, 14 7:52 AM
Classic liberal , injecting RACE into every issue.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jan 20, 14 8:28 AM