- Associated Press - Saturday, June 13, 2015

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Katherine Galanis is asking the Mississippi Supreme Court to allow her to pursue a wrongful death claim against a Starkville apartment complex where her son was killed in 2008 by a man later sentenced to death for the crime.

Galanis argues the apartment complex advertised a “zero tolerance” policy in which it said it would bar people with a criminal history from living there. But in pairing her son to be a roommate with Bobby Batiste, Galanis argues, the apartment owners contributed to her son’s death.

An Okitbbeha County judge threw out the lawsuit in 2012. The Supreme Court this week agreed to look at the case.

Attorneys for the apartment complex argued that the owners were not put on notice about Batiste’s violent nature. They also argued that it was not foreseeable, based on Batiste’s prior actions, that he would commit murder.

Andreas Galanis was a student at Mississippi State University. Court records show the off-campus apartment complex catered to Mississippi State students.

Batiste, now 35, was convicted of capital murder in 2009 in the death of 28-year-old Andreas Galanis. Batiste was sentenced to death and is being held at the state prison in Parchman.

Authorities said Galanis died of blunt-force trauma to the head after the two roommates got into a fight March 7, 2008, in their apartment when Galanis discovered thousands of dollars was missing from his checking account. He suspected Batiste had used his debit card without his permission.

Batiste told police that Galanis attacked him first, but prosecutors argued that the evidence showed it was murder.

Could records show Batiste pleaded guilty in 2004 to credit-card fraud in Kemper County.

At trial in 2009, Batiste was accused of spending more than $4,500 of Andreas Galanis’ money on a debit card without Galanis’ knowledge before killing him, according to court records..

Katherine Galanis sued the apartment complex, 21 Apartments, and its owner for unspecified damages.

According to court records, 21 Apartments not only leases apartments to tenants it also provides a roommate matching service. It matched Batiste to Andreas Galanis even though it knew of Batiste’s criminal history and a previous roommate’s report of an incident of violence, Katherine Galanis said in her lawsuit.

“21 Apartments then failed to provide all tenants, including Andreas, with any warnings about Batiste’s violent and/or criminal nature,” attorney Sean R. Guy wrote in the appeal on behalf of the Galanis family.

Guy said Batiste persuaded 21 Apartments to allow him to remain a tenant. He said 21 Apartments failed provide a safe environment for its tenants.

“The party in the best position to eliminate a dangerous condition should be burdened with that responsibility,” Guy wrote in briefs.

David L. Sanders, the attorney for 211 Apartments, argued in briefs that Katherine Galanis provided no proof of the apartment owners’ liability in her son’s death.

“The only other purported proof in the record of Batiste’s violent nature was a charge for simple assault four years before the murder. The charges were dropped. However, the record contains no proof of knowledge of this charge by 21 Apartments.

“21 Apartments was obligated to exercise reasonable care to protect (Galanis) from reasonably foreseeable injuries at the hands of another. The attack on Galanis by Batiste was not foreseeable, and the inquiry should stop there,” Sanders wrote in briefs.

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