A Melville man was indicted Monday by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office on murder charges in the June killing of the owner of the iconic L&B Spumoni Gardens pizzeria just days after federal officials dismissed their robbery and homicide charges.
Andres Fernandez, 41, had been charged last month in Brooklyn federal court with the killing of Louis Barbati outside his Dyker Heights home. Barbati had $15,000 from restaurant proceeds with him but the money wasn’t taken, spurring speculation about possible mob-related motives.
The federal charges were dropped Friday. A spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers and Fernandez’s defense lawyer did not comment, but a source said the shift to state court indicated federal authorities were unable to establish a mob-related or other motive that would make it a federal case.
Fernandez allegedly waited for Barbati, 61, outside his house for more than an hour, shot him four times in an ambush when he arrived home and then fled in an Acura.
He has been charged with murder, robbery and weapons possession and was held without bail after a hearing in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.
“This was a calculated and senseless murder of a beloved business man and I intend to prosecute this crime to the fullest extent of the law,” acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement.