SALEM, Mass. — A Lawrence teenager has been found guilty of premeditated murder in the killing of a classmate in 2016.
The jurors affirmed their decision in open court Tuesday as Mathew Borges stood with a blank expression. Closing arguments wrapped up Monday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial involving the former Lawrence High School Student.
Prosecutors say in November 2016, Borges -- who was 15 at the time -- stabbed his 16-year-old friend to death in jealousy over a girl. Prosecutors say he cut off his head and hands and threw the mutilated body into the Lawrence River, where it was found nearly two weeks later.
We saw more family and friends of the victim inside the courtroom today than we have all trial. Many were seen sobbing several times.
Jurors began deliberating around 11:45 a.m. and were dismissed without reaching a verdict in their first day.
During the nearly-two-week trial, the defendant did not take the stand and the defense called no witnesses.
"You can’t rely on their theory and if you can’t rely on the prosecution’s case, you just can’t convict," defense attorney Edward Hayden said in his closing statement.
The defense attorney for 18-year-old Matthew Borges telling jurors during closing arguments there is no physical evidence linking his client to the alleged murder. And there are too many unanswered questions in the case.
"There's no scene where the body was dismembered there’s no murder weapon, there's no tool that was used to dismember the body," Hayden said.
Borges is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lawrence High School classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino.
"Every piece of evidence in this trial over the past three weeks points to one person. [It] points to him, he’s the person who killed Lee Paulino," Prosecutor James Gubitose said.
The emotional Viloria-Paulino family sat in the front row, some sobbing quietly. They remembered their loved one by wearing black t-shirts showing his face on the front.
And the back saying,
"We want answers!
We need answers!
We need justice!"
We're told the family will speak to the media once the jury has delivered its verdict.
Even though Borges was 15 at the time of the alleged murder, he's being tried as an adult.
The jury spent about 4 hours deliberating Monday and announced a verdict had been reached just after 2 p.m. Tuesday.
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