KATY (Covering Katy News) – Earl James Semien pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years in prison for the murder of Chris Battelli outside of a Katy bar in the early morning hours of Dec. 24, 2016. The plea was entered on Tuesday at the Fort Bend Justice Center in Richmond.
Following the plea, Semien received 35 years for murder and 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm. The sentences will be served concurrently, meaning they will be served at the same time.
The shooting happened just before 2 a.m. as Battelli was sitting in his car, with his window down, talking with friends in the parking lot of the Southland Ice House. He never knew that Semien had pulled a gun and was about to shoot him behind the ear.
Chris’ father James Battelli told Covering Katy he’s pleased that the plea means the family will not have to live through a trial. Semien is in his mid 50’s and Battelli hopes his son’s killer will spend all of his remaining years behind bars.
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Battelli told the court he’s bothered because Semien has never said why he murdered his son.
Chris Battelli was an Air Force veteran. His service includes a deployment to Baghdad. His decorations include the Army Achievement Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Air Force Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal with 1 service star, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with gold border and the Air Force Training Ribbon.