Andres Avalos found guilty in triple murder case in Bradenton, sentencing to begin Monday

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-22 06:27:40-04

Saturday, May 20: Jury decides: Jurors return a guilty verdict of all three counts.



Friday, May 19: Closing arguments in triple murder case  | Jurors are expected to start deliberating the Andres Avalos triple murder case Friday afternoon. 

The defense is hoping jurors will believe Avalos was insane during the commission of the crimes. Defense attorneys pointed to his history of paranoia.

Prosecutors argued Avalos knew the consequences of his crimes.



Thursday, May 18: Doctor's testifying for defense believe Avalos had abnormal brain activity | Jurors heard from two doctors presented by the defense on Thursday morning. 

Both doctors said Avalos had abnormal brain activity based on a review of brain scans. One doctor said the abnormalities could have been a result of prolonged drug usage. 

Also, Lt. Joel Perez with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office testified. He is the uncle of Andres Avalos.  Perez said he thought his nephew should have been committed through the Baker Act before the murders occurred. 


Wednesday, May 17: Doctor says Avalos knew the difference between right and wrong | Jurors heard testimony by expert witnesses during the third day of the triple murder trial for Andres "Andy" Avalos.

A radiation doctor and a psychologist both spent the morning testifying.  Dr. Lawrence Holder, testifying for the prosecution, analyzed Avalos' brain scan.

"This is a normal brain scan," said Holder.

A psychologist told the jury that Avalos knew about the consequences of his actions in the moments after the crime.

"He knew there was two dead bodies at his house and he wanted to make sure that the police were there and investigating before the kids got home from school, he didn't want them to walk into that scene," said the psychologist.

The psychologist said Avalos knew the difference between right and wrong while he committed the murders.

"There was no confusion about what he had done," said the psychologist.

Doctors also testified that Avalos was on a alcohol bender hours before the murders took place. It was also revealed that Avalos had a long standing problem with methamphetamines.

The afternoon session resumed with the testimony of Pastor Tripp Battle's widow. She witnessed her husband being shot.

"He met Tripp on the sidewalk and pulled a gun out and he shot him three times," said Joy Battle.

Prosecutors believe Avalos was a jealous husband, but the defense maintains he was insane during the commission of the crimes.





Tuesday, May 16: Avalos confides in Christian couple before arrest | Jerry and Melissa Hamilton were preparing to leave for church in December 2014, when they saw a man walk up to the back of their home.

"The first thing he says to me is I'm the person who killed those people," said Jerry Hamilton.

The Hamilton's spoke to Avalos on their back porch for more than two hours.

"He would sob and then he would talk and then he would cry," said Melissa Hamilton.

The Hamilton's said Avalos didn't show remorse for killing his wife Amber or their Neighbor Denise Potter.

"He said that he wasn't sorry his wife, because she was cheating on him," said Melissa Hamilton.

The couple said Avalos didn't intend to kill Pastor Battles.

"He said he didn't go there to shoot him but once he did he was so jacked up on adrenaline he just shot him," said Melissa Hamilton.

The jury in this case needs to decide if Avalos was a jealous husband or if he was insane when he committed the crimes. 





Monday, May 15: Trial begins for triple murder suspect Andres Avalos | "The evidence is going to demonstrate to you, that he acted out of jealousy," State Prosecutor Ed Brodsky told jurors.

Prosecutors say that jealousy had a vice grip on 36-year-old Andres "Andy" Avalos and then wife, Amber.

"The cord was wrapped around her neck," explained Brodsky.

Prosecutors say Avalos hung the 33-year-old from a laundry room cabinet in 2014, beat her unconscious and then shot and killed her.

They also say the couple's 4-year-old son was inside the Northwest Bradenton home during the murder.

Deputies say his wife's friend and neighbor, Denise Porter, stopped by unexpectedly and Avalos shot her five times.

"Andres Avalos called him at his home while he was off from work and he said to him, I left you guys two bodies at the house so you need to get someone over there. Get someone over there before my kids get home from school," said Brodsky.

Lieutenant Joel Perez told jurors he took that phone call from his nephew-- a call the state says proves Avalos knew right from wrong when he dropped his 4-year-old son off at pre-school.

Deputies say Avalos then took a taxi to Bayshore Baptist Church where he shot and killed Pastor James "Tripp" Battles.

"The family had had concerns about Andy and his mental health and the concerns became fear," said defense attorney Richard Watts.

His defense attorneys argue Avalos was legally insane when he carried out the triple murder. They say he had delusions his wife was having an extramarital affair with gang members from his checkered past.

"His enemies from the past were coming and he had nowhere to go," Watts told jurors.

Proving insanity is a tough threshold in Florida, but may be Avalos' only shot at escaping conviction and the threat of the death penalty.

"You'll hear from the doctors who examined him. You'll hear that he had brain abnormalities," said Watts.

The Avalos' trial is expected to last three weeks.