The Massachusetts teen accused of beheading and cutting off the hands of a classmate in a jealous rage was found guilty during his trial this week — and could spend the rest of his life behind bars, according to new reports.
A Salem Superior Court jury found Mathew Borges, 18, guilty of first-degree murder in the November 2016 slaying of Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, determining that he committed the act “with deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity and cruelty,” The Boston Herald reported.
Borges was only 15 at the time of the fatal attack, and his victim was 16.
Borges faces a sentence of 25 years to life, and will not be eligible for parole before the 25-year mark, according to the report.
Assistant District Attorney Jay Gubitose pointed out during his closing arguments Monday that Borges is the only person with a clear motive, means and opportunity to kill Viloria-Paulino, the outlet reported.
Borges became jealous when he saw a girl he liked sitting in the cafeteria with Viloria-Paulino at Lawrence High School — and yelled at the pair, Gubitose said, according to the report.
Gubitose also showed a text in which Borges said he’d kill anyone who got in the way of what he wanted, and referenced the testimony of a witness who said Borges had asked how to kill someone and where to find a knife, the outlet reported.
But Borges’ defense attorney Edward Hayden argued that without a murder weapon, DNA, blood or fingerprints, there’s no way for prosecutors to prove that Borges was behind the slaying.
The panel of seven men and five women deliberated for a day and a half before coming to their conclusion, according to the report.
Meanwhile, Viloria-Paulino’s family wore T-shirts bearing the teen’s likeness and declaring, “We want answers. We want justice.”
“Nothing can bring Lee Paulino back to his family, who obviously love and miss him very much. It is my hope that this verdict gives them some comfort and peace,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement following the decision, obtained by MassLive.
“I wish to thank the jury for their service on this very difficult case. I also want to commend the entire prosecution and investigative team for their tireless pursuit of justice for Lee Paulino.”
Borges was tried as an adult in the case.
His sentencing will take place on July 9, an Eagle-Tribune reporter tweeted
A dog-walker discovered Viloria-Paulino’s body near a river weeks after the teen’s disappearance. His head was recovered nearby.
Borges had initially claimed that the teens had smoked marijuana together, and then parted ways.