Lawrence, MA– A jury found 18-year-old Mathew Borges guilty this week for the 2016 murder and beheading of his classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino. Both were sophomores at Lawrence High School at the time of the murder. Borges could face 25 to 30 years in prison, with the possibility of parole after 30 years, reports MassLive.
Mathew Borges’ murder trial started on April 29th in Salem Superior Court and came to a close earlier this week with a guilty verdict after a day of deliberation. Borges was tried as an adult for the stabbing and beheading his 16-year-old classmate.
The murder occurred in November 2016, when Borges was 15 and Viloria-Paulino was 16. According to prosecutors, a group of boys was going to Viloria-Paulino home's to steal clothing, belts, and a PlayStation. While the boys were doing this, they assigned the task of distracting Viloria-Paulino to Borges. The two boys walked to the river nearby to smoke weed on that day in November, and Borges allegedly stabbed Viloria-Paulino 76 times. Viloria-Paulino's body was found decapitated. The prosecution argued that Borges was jealous of the friendship between Paulino and his girlfriend, and that was the alleged motive behind the stabbing.
Ed Hayden, Borges’ defense attorney, dismissed the jealousy theory, claiming it was ridiculous. Hayden went further to say that “hours of testimony, and volumes of text messages submitted by prosecutors, didn’t bring the court closer to answering a single question: who killed Viloria-Paulino?” Hayden elaborated that “there is no crime scene. There is no scene where the body was dismembered. There is no murder weapon, no tool used to dismember the body, no DNA, no blood, no fingerprints, and there is no motive.”
During the trial, two of Borges’ former girlfriends testified along with friends and family of Viloria-Paulino, law enforcement officers, and a specialist in entomology. Borges did not testify in his own defense. His lawyers did not call any witnesses to the stand during the trial.
The boys that allegedly went to rob Viloria-Paulino’s home testified and are not facing charges. Hayden pointed out that “none of these kids went to the river to see if the body was there? That is not believable.”
For the prosecution, Essex Assistant District Attorney Jay Gubitose closed his argument with, “Every piece of evidence points to him [Borges]. Maybe it’s hard to believe a 15-year-old kid can kill someone but that’s the world we live in today.”
The jury found him guilty. He will be sentenced on July 9 and faces 25 to 30 years in prison, without the possibility of parole until the sentence is served.