City sued over 2012 murder of corrections officer

Businessman Eddie Baldassarri is being sued, along with the city, for the shooting murder at his nightclub of a Mercer County jail guard celebrating the reelection of President Obama in 2012.

The Chambersburg entrepreneur is targeted in a suit filed by attorney Robin Lord, who argued in legal papers just filed that Baldassarri and Trenton’s police force should have protected slain Carl Batie and other partiers that night.

The lawyer said Baldassarri hired a squad of off-duty city cops as security for the event. But none of them noticed anyone with a gun in the school parking lot across Morris Avenue when more than 20 bullets were sprayed from there into the crowded porch of the Baldassari Regency Ballroom at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 11.

Police arrested Hykeem Tucker and Maurice Skillman, both 26, and charged them with shooting the barrage of gunfire, hitting Batie in the head but missing as many as 30 others on the enclosed porch.

Cops have no motive for the alleged deadly deeds of Tucker and Skillman, who are seen holding a gun on surveillance video of the scene, a prosecutor said at a hearing earlier this year.

In the hearing, it also came out that Skillman’s twin brother Marquise was arrested that night and later had the charges dropped. But he ended up charged with a separate murder.

“It’s as much a mystery to us as it apparently is to them,” Lord said, referring to police, when asked why reputed gangsters Tucker and Skillman would target a party of Obama supporters in the heart of Chambersburg.

Batie worked as a corrections officer for Mercer County. Investigators don’t know if his job figured into the slaying, but have kept Tucker and Skillman in separate county jails outside Mercer because of the connection.

Lord is suing on behalf of the widow of 27-year-old Batie, Elaine Batie of Willingboro, as well as the victim’s brother, Karshawn Batie, who was there that night to see his sibling get killed.

Baldassarri, a Chambersburg business leader for half a century, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Spokesman Michael Walker said City Hall would have no comment on the lawsuit.

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