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Bradenton Man Spared Death Sentence After Guilty Verdicts in Three Slayings

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A Manatee County jury took three hours to decide that the punishment appropriate to Andres "Andy" Avalos Jr.'s two first-degree murder convictions is to live out the remainder of his days inside the walls of a Florida prison.

Avalos was convicted on May 20th of killing his wife Amber Avalos, Denise Potter, and the Rev. James "Tripp" Battle III in late 2014 and execution by lethal injection was among the range of punishments available to the jury. The trial jury convicted him of premeditated murder in the killings of Potter and Battle, while finding that he acted in the heat of passion when slaying his wife.

According to the county prosecutor, Avalos returned to his home in Bradenton after delivering his children to school on December 4 two years ago and subsequently engaged in an argument with his wife over his overindulgence of alcohol the night prior. They say that Avalos flew into a rage when Amber told him she had no fear of him nor of dying.

Investigators say Avalos admitted to killing her despite having never had a physical altercation with her before. They say he struck her with his fists in the head several times, garroted her, and suspended her then-deceased body by the neck in their laundry room to ensure death. They say he shot the corpse with a pistol afterward for the same reason.

Avalos was convicted of killing Potter based on the county prosecutor's assertion that she would alert the police when she discovered the body, which she was certain to do after arriving at the home shortly after the alleged murder to pick Amber up for a housecleaning job they were both expected to complete later that day. Prosecutors say Avalos shot Potter as she was approaching Amber's body.

Authorites say Avalos then traveled to the church where Battle was pastor and shot him four times, mortally wounding him. Avalos believed Battle had been carrying on an illicit relationship with Amber, but no evidence beyond Avalos' suspicions was brought to the fore. Avalos was captured 51 hours later and offered an extensive confession, ninety minutes of which was shown to the jury.

Avalos' defense team put forth an argument alleging that he suffered from a delusional disorder and was insane at the time of the killings, but to no avail. He is currently being held at Manatee County Jail until he can be processed into the FDOC's system.

The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.

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