Jury selection underway in Manatee County triple-murder trial

- Their neighbor, Denise Potter, was visiting when Avalos showed up.  Investigators said he shot her multiple times.

From there, investigators said, Avalos dropped his son off at daycare, ditched his car and took a taxi to Bayshore Baptist Church on U.S 41, where Avalos’ wife worked in the children's ministry. There, Avalos allegedly shot and killed Pastor Tripp Battle.

In court Monday, both the prosecution and defense focused in on two subjects: The death penalty and the amount of attention the case gathered.

If found guilty, Avalos would face life in prison or the death penalty.  Avalos' attorneys tried throwing out the death penalty several times, but were overturned.

They plan to use an insanity defense for their client.
 

Andres Avalos walked into court in Manatee County without shackles and wearing a blazer. He quickly nodded towards his parents who sat in the audience.

His defense attorney once again asked Judge Diana Moreland to consider a chance of venue, but was denied the request. That cleared the way for what could be a weeklong process to seat an impartial jury.

Avalos is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.  Investigators with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office say in December of 2014 Avalos hung his wife Amber, beat her face, and shot her in the chest.

It happened at the home they shared with their six children in northwest Bradenton.  The couple's 4-year-old son was home at the time.

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