Originally charged with a lesser crime with mitigated circumstances, a man accused of killing three people including his wife and a Southern Baptist pastor has been indicted for first degree murder, which can be punishable by death.
A grand jury in Manatee County, Fla., has indicted 33-year-old Andres “Andy” Avalos Jr. on three counts of first-degree murder for the killing of his wife, a Southern Baptist pastor and a third person in a violent spree in Bradenton, Fla., on Dec. 4.
Avalos is accused of brutally murdering his wife and a friend of hers in their home. Police say afterword he took the couple’s 4-year-old, one of their six children, to day care before ditching his car and taking a cab to Bayshore Baptist Church, one of the places where his wife had a job, where he shot and killed 31-year-old Pastor James “Tripp” Battle, who reportedly had been trying to help the couple work through some marital problems.
Avalos was arrested after a 51-hour manhunt Dec. 6 and reportedly confessed to all three murders. He was originally charged with second-degree murder — described as an unlawful killing without premeditation — but after meeting for two-and-a-half hours the grand jury found probable cause to up the charges to murder in the first-degree.
If convicted Avalos could face the death penalty, but according to local media, prosecutors haven’t yet decided whether they will seek it in this case.
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SOURCE: Baptist News Global