On a hot June evening, famed pizzeria owner Louis Barbati fell on the ground of his driveway as his shooter fled. Three years later, Kings County Supreme Court found Andres Fernandez guilty for the murder that shook Brooklyn’s streets.
The jury convicted Fernandez of second-degree murder and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Fernandez will be sentenced on January 8 and is facing a term of 25 years to life in prison.
“With (this) verdict, this defendant has been brought to justice for the murder of a beloved husband, father, and fixture of the Gravesend community,” said Brooklyn district attorney Eric Gonzalez. “I commend the jury for its hard work convicting this defendant, and for bringing some solace to the family, friends and many Brooklynites affected by this senseless tragedy.”
The trial had been emotional. Barbati’s widow, Joann, recounted the events of that painful day and sobbed until the assistant district attorney Emily Dean asked her to “please bear with me.”
The jury watched surveillance footage of her running to her husband then rushing back in their home to call 911. Gonzalez also mentioned footage of Fernandez in his white Acura going by L&B Spumoni Gardens, Barbati’s pizzeria, before his vehicle was seen on footage outside of Barbati’s home where he was shot. It remains unclear why Fernandez shot him and left $15,000-plus cash within a brown bag that Barbati held that night.
Fernandez’s lawyer, Javier Solano, argued that he may be a patsy. “It’s a setup,” he said. “That’s what this case is, it’s a setup. Andy Fernandez is being used as the fall guy in this case, in this crime. You know what they call that in Brooklyn? He’s a patsy.” He did not elaborate further on how Fernandez was set up, but the argument draw from the pizzeria’s mafia feud.
Regardless of Solano’s arguments, the three-year saga after Barbati’s murder concluded with Fernandez as his shooter. The true reason why may not surface, if at all.