LAWRENCE (CBS) — On day two of the Mathew Borges trial, jurors heard from the man who found victim Lee Viloria-Paulino’s body and multiple police officers involved in the case.
Borges, 18, is accused of beheading Viloria-Paulino, a fellow student at Lawrence High School when they were sophomores in 2016. Viloria-Paulino was last seen alive on Nov. 18, 2016, when Borges told police they smoked pot together. His body was found on Dec. 1. 2016.
Eighteen-year-old Stephanie Soriano reappeared to briefly continue testifying first. On Monday, she told jurors she and Borges had been talking for a few months leading up to Viloria-Paulino’s murder.
Witness Omar Medina told the court Tuesday he was walking with his dog behind his house, along the Merrimack River, when he noticed a body.
Typically, Medina said, he walks on a path headed right, but on Dec. 1, his dog led him left towards the riverbank. “She was sniffing by the water a lot, not listening…As I got close, I approached her, I saw her really sniffing at a particular area so I pulled her back and when I looked, I kind of second guessed myself, I thought I saw a dead body but I wasn’t too sure because it was missing some limbs,” he said.
Medina called Leidia Feliciano, his then-girlfriend, to confirm that he was seeing a body before they called police. She was brought before the court to testify on the sequences of events on Dec. 1 as well.
Lawrence Police Detective William Olivieri then took the stand. As a patrol officer, he was one of the first people to respond to the riverbank scene in 2016.
“Upon further inspection of the body, we noticed that the head was missing from the body and the body had a black t-shirt on and black sweatpants. We could kind of see the upper torso sticking out of the water, the body was actually still submerged in the water. Upon still inspecting, we couldn’t locate any hands to the body as well, so we figured they were missing as well,” Olivieri said.
Mass. State Police Sgt. Brian O’Neill was a death investigator for the district attorney’s office in 2016. On the stand, he recalled canvassing the area and noticing a plastic bag in the river.
“I was walking down the river, looking into the water to see if I could observe anything and as I got about 50 yards down the river, I noticed a object, a plastic bag, bobbing in the water,” O’Neill said.
Using a large stick, he retrieved it. “At that point, I didn’t know whether it was trash or anything of value or evidentiary, so I decided to open it up to see what was in the bag,” said O’Neill.
He explained how he used two sticks to rip the bag open, and found rocks and another bag inside, which he started to open with the sticks. “At that point, I opened it up just enough where I could notice an ear…I stopped what I was doing because I knew it was of evidentiary value.”
Photos of the head were passed among the members of the jury. With that, O’Neill’s testimony ended.
A friend of Lee’s briefly took the stand. As a juvenile, he was not identified or videotaped.
Samuel Paulino and Ivelisse Cornielle, Lee Viloria-Paulino’s uncle and grandmother took the stand next.
With the assistance of a Spanish interpreter, Cornielle told the court about her relationship with Viloria-Paulino. “He would always give me a hug and a kiss and would tell me, ‘I love you, grandma, I love you so much.’ and I would tell him well I love him more,” she said while crying.
Viloria-Paulino’s aunt took the stand before Lawrence police detectives Michael Montecalvo, Barry Desjardins- Lawrence, and Kevin Schiavone.
Prosecutors used surveillance video to lay out a timeline of the last time Viloria-Paulino was seen alive. They said the images show Viloria-Paulino leaving his house with Borges.
Schiavone interviewed Borges while Viloria-Paulino was still a missing person. Borges told him the two had smoked by the river and discussing their weed businesses, Schiavone testified.
Borges was caught in a lie, Schiavone said, when he changes his story about the cuts he had on his hands.