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Massachusetts Teen Convicted of Murder in Beheading Case

By Wire Service Content

A Massachusetts teen was found guilty of murder on May 14, convicted in the killing, mutilation, and beheading of his classmate.

A jury found 18-year-old Mathew Borges of Lawrence, Massachusetts, guilty of first-degree murder for the 2016 killing of then-16-year-old Lee Manuel Villoria-Paulino. Borges was 15 at the time of the murder.

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

Borges’ attorney, Edward Hayden, did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Paulino’s body was discovered on the bank of the Merrimack River in December 2016, decapitated and missing its hands.

A jury found 18-year-old Mathew Borges of Lawrence, Massachusetts, guilty of first-degree murde
A jury found 18-year-old Mathew Borges of Lawrence, Massachusetts, guilty of first-degree murder for the 2016 killing of then-16-year-old Lee Manuel Villoria-Paulino, on May 13, 2019. (WCVB via CNN)

Sentencing is Scheduled in July

In his closing arguments Monday, Assistant District Attorney Jay Gubitose said that Borges had the means, motive, and opportunity to kill Paulino.

“He had this fascination, some sort of obsession, with killing someone,” Gubitose said.

The prosecution argued that Borges was jealous because Paulino had spent time with his girlfriend. Prosecutors said Borges distracted Paulino to get him out of his house while other teens robbed it, and then killed him.

“The defendant was tough on the outside but insecure on the inside,” Gubitose told the jury of nine women and seven men during one of the trial hearings on April 29.

“He was jealous” when he caught her sitting with Viloria-Paulino in the school cafeteria one day then and “started screaming at her.”

The prosecutors told the jury that Borges sent a message to his former girlfriend 24 hours before committing the crime. The message said: “The next time you see me, look at my eyes because that’s the last time they’ll be like that. They’ll be dead.”

In one of his messages to her earlier, Borges had said, “I think of killing someone and I smirk … It’s all I think about every day.”

Prosecutors said the victim’s house was burglarized by Borges and some of his friends and a surveillance video showed both the victim and the offender leaving the house together towards the direction of the river.

“Four figures go around (Viloria-Paulino’s) house and come back with duffel bags,” Gubitose said.

“The defendant told them he stabbed him to death and cut his head and hands off so he couldn’t be identified,” Gubitose told the jury.

CNN affiliate WCVB reported that medical examiners found 76 wounds on Paulino’s body—and that they were unable to determine whether particular wounds, including his beheading, took place before or after his death.

Since Borges was a minor when Paulino was murdered, he faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole, according to the Essex District Attorney’s office.

Borges is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9.

Epoch Times reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.

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