SALEM (CBS) — A Lawrence teenager convicted of beheading a classmate was sentenced Tuesday afternoon for first-degree murder.
A jury convicted 18-year-old Mathew Borges back in May in the death of Lee Viloria-Paulino in December 2016. Borges was 15 at the time of the murder, but he was tried as an adult.
Judge Helene Kazanjian formally sentenced Borges to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 30 years. In 2013, it became unconstitutional in Massachusetts to sentence a teenager to life without the possibility of parole.
Borges declined to speak at his sentencing in Salem Superior Court.
Borges killed Viloria-Paulino, a classmate at Lawrence High School when they were sophomores in 2016. Viloria-Paulino was last seen alive on November 18, 2016, when Borges told police they smoked pot together. A dog walker found Viloria-Paulino’s body on the banks of the Merrimack River about two weeks later.
Katiuska Paulino, Viloria-Paulino’s mother read a prepared victim impact statement at the sentencing.
“From the moment that the news became public all we have heard is an outpouring of sentiments echoing the facts that we knew to be true. [Lee] was a sincere, loving, responsible, charismatic, and altruistic young man on the verge of seizing life and many, many goals,” she said.
“Sharing a meal with the family was one of his favorite things and because of this he always looked forward to thanksgiving celebrations. We will never again have a thanksgiving dinner because [Lee] was torn from our arms just a few days before Thanksgiving of 2016.”
Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said, “Understanding that there is no number of years that can restore this family’s loss, it is my hope that they can now find some peace.”
During the trial, prosecutor Jay Gubitose said there was a “mountain of evidence” against Borges, including text and social media messages with friends and love interests and a notebook with entries seemingly premeditating the murder. Gubitose said Borges killed Viloria-Paulino because he was jealous Viloria-Paulino had spent time with his girlfriend.
Investigators said Borges stabbed the 16-year-old several times and cut his head off so the body would not be recognized.