Avalos confesses to triple murder then pleads not guilty
BRADENTON, Fla. (Christian Examiner) -- According to the The Bradenton Herald, accused triple murderer Andres "Andy" Avalos confessed to killing his wife, Amber, 32, her friend Denise Potter, 46, and James "Tripp" Battle, 31, pastor of Bayshore Baptist Church in Bradenton.
Avalos, 33, reportedly gave a "full confession" to investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office it was revealed during a court hearing on Sunday. Avalos was booked on three counts of second-degree murder (not premeditated and no felony involved) and ordered held without bond -- differing from his arrest warrant which was issued with two charges of first degree murder.
But, although he was reported to have confessed to the murders, Avalos may have Monday regrets -- after receiving a court appointed public defender. Documents filed today show Avalos is pleading not guilty and asking for a jury trial.
Authorities have discretion to change their minds, too, and could choose to modify the charges to first degree murder, a capital punishment offense. Florida is a death penalty state and Avalos' alleged brutality may prove such a consequence is merited.
The Manatee County Sheriff's Office released an arrest affadavit outlining Avalos' gruesome murder of his wife.
He hanged Amber Avalos by a cord in the laundry room of their home, having severely beaten her face, and shot her in the chest; and, he shot her friend and neighbor Denise Potter multiple times just down the hallway -- all while his four-year-old child was present.
Afterward, he went to Bayshore Baptist Church where his wife was a member and worked as nursery and children's director. Avalos also was given work there installing floors in order to help him make ends meet for his family.
He was met by Battle's wife, Joy, the church secretary, to whom he rambled about evil in the world. Battle had called to check on his wife, and arrived at the office shortly after -- only to have Avalos rush outside and shoot him in the courtyard.
WFTS of Tampa Bay reported church members planted flowers in the courtyard where Battle was killed, with a rose bush marking where he was slain. A member said the rose was meant to keep Joy Battle from having to see the spot where her husband fell, bled and died.
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