District Attorney

Posted on: May 15, 2017

No New Trial for Man Serving Life for Drive-By Murder in Manheim Township

MathewMorales

A state prison inmate will not get a new trial over the drive-by killing of a man walking home on a Manheim Township street in 2014.

Mathew S. Morales, 26, is serving a life term after a Lancaster County jury convicted him last year of first-degree murder over the shooting of 25-year-old Xavier Garriga.

Morales, from his vehicle, shot Garriga who was walking home on New Holland Avenue on June 21, 2014. The two men were involved in a verbal dispute minutes earlier at a nearby convenience store.

Morales requested relief from the state Superior Court, claiming the jury’s verdict went against what the evidence showed.

The state appeals court denied that argument, writing in an 8-page opinion that an appeals court’s role is not to “reweigh the evidence” juries consider at trials.

Lancaster County Judge Donald Totaro previously denied the request, finding the verdict was “supported by sufficient evidence.”

At trial, Assistant District Attorney Mark Fetterman showed jurors a video recording of the men as they left the convenience store. Fetterman also presented evidence that showed Morales’ vehicle would have been at the location when Garriga was shot, based on other surveillance video.

There also was testimony that Morales owned the type of firearm that discharged the fatal shots.

The jury deliberated for about an hour and 15 minutes before deciding the case.

At sentencing, Morales refused to apologize for killing Garriga, citing “injustice.”

Manheim Township police Detective Brian Freysz filed charges.

Assistant District Attorney Fetterman prosecuted the case with Assistant District Attorney Maria Cusick.

MEDIA CONTACT: Brett A. Hambright, 717-295-2041; bhambright@co.lancaster.pa.us; Twitter: @BrettHambright

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