Both the brother of an Eastport man shot to death in 2013 during a home invasion burglary and the man who pulled the trigger cried as they relived that day Friday in court, shortly before the killer was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
“There’s no excuse for my wrongdoings,” Paul Batterson Jr., 24, of East Moriches, said tearfully to state Supreme Court Justice Richard Ambro in Riverhead. “I think about what I’ve done and caused every single day. I can’t explain what happened or why.”
Batterson and his co-defendant Matthew Rooney, 24, shot the door off the home of Francisco Pirir Canel and demanded money in December 2013 to fuel their opiate addictions, both men have acknowledged. When Pirir said he had none, Batterson shot him in the face with a shotgun, killing him instantly. He also injured Pirir’s uncle, Cipriano Pirir Patzan.
“The victims in this case were merely sleeping in their beds” when Batterson and Rooney arrived in ski masks, carrying shotguns, Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Kearon said.
Rooney, also of East Moriches, was sentenced earlier this month to 17 years in prison after pleading guilty to first-degree manslaughter in November. Batterson pleaded guilty last year to first-degree manslaughter and assault.
The slain man’s younger brother, Marcos Pirir, said through an interpreter that the family of Guatemalan immigrants is financially bereft, now that his brother is dead and his uncle can no longer work.
Francisco Pirir left behind a wife and four children. “I have to support them now, because they have nothing,” Marcos Pirir said.
Still, he offered forgiveness.
“I don’t want to hold any grudge against these guys, although they killed my brother,” Marcos Pirir said, crying. “I’m forgiving them because I believe in God.”
He apologized for his tears, but Ambro told him, “You have nothing to apologize for.”
Defense attorney Edward Burke Jr. of Sag Harbor also apologized to the Pirir family for what happened on “that horrible, horrible day.”
As Batterson’s parents sobbed in the courtroom, Batterson said he would turn his life around in Pirir’s memory.
“Nobody should have to suffer a loss as horrible as this was,” he said. “I think about what I’ve done and caused every single day.”
Ambro said the crime — and how it’s wrecked the lives of three families — is a warning about the danger of opiate addiction.
“The degree of violence to get a couple of bucks for pills is just horrible,” Ambro said.