Massachusetts teen Mathew Borges found guilty of beheading classmate - News Coverage

Massachusetts teen Mathew Borges found guilty of beheading classmate

BOSTON — An 18-year-old man in a Boston suburb was convicted Tuesday of killing and gruesomely beheading a classmate in a dispute about a girl. 

A jury found Mathew Borges of Lawrence, Massachusetts guilty of first-degree murder in the 2016 stabbing death of Lee Manuel Villoria-Paulino, 16, whose decapitated body was found on the banks of the Merrimack River by a woman walking her dog.

Borges was 15 years old when prosecutors said he murdered Villoria-Paulino, who was a classmate at Lawrence High School. He was tried as an adult and will receive his sentencing July 9. He faces a maximum penalty of life in prison but the possibility of parole in 30 years because he was a minor during the crime. 

“Nothing can bring Lee Paulino back to his family, who obviously love and miss him very much,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement. “It is my hope that this verdict gives them some comfort and peace.”

The verdict followed a day of deliberations and a nine-day trial in Salem, Massachusetts, which is 25 miles northeast of Boston.

Prosecutors said that Borges was jealous of the time that Villoria-Paulino spent with a girl at their school.

The victim went missing Nov. 18, 2016. Surveillance cameras captured Borges and Villoria-Paulino head toward the river that same day, according to the Boston Globe.

The body was found Dec. 1 of that year. Prosecutors argued Borges first stabbed the victim to death and then cut his head and hands off to try to conceal his identity.

The Globe said the prosecution had cellphone specialists, medical examiners and friends of Borges and Villoria-Paulino testify as witnesses. Borges’ defense team argued that he state lacked evidence tying him to the crime. 

As additional evidence, prosecutors pointed to text and Facebook messages from Borges to the girl telling her that he didn’t like her being friends with other guys. He told her he believed a person’s eyes change when they kill someone. 

“Take a good look at my eyes the next time we talk cuz that’s the last time ur gna see them like that ever again,” Borges wrote on November 17, 2016, the Globe reported, the day before Villoria-Paulino went missing. “I know what I’m going to do and I can’t do anything about it. People will notice a big difference in me once my eyes turn dead.” 

The Globe reported that Borges showed no emotion as the verdict was read and that his parents were not in the courtroom for the verdict. Borges’ attorney, Edward Hayden, said they wanted to avoid the publicity.

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