Mathew Borges. (Lawrence Police)
SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Prosecutors allege jealousy was the root cause of a horrific 2016 murder and decapitation committed by a 15-year-old boy in Lawrence.
During opening arguments in Salem Superior Court on Monday, Essex County Assistant District Attorney Jay Gubitose laid out his case against Mathew Borges, now 17.
Police said Borges and his classmate, Lee Paulino, went to the banks of the Merrimack River to smoke pot in December of 2016. Borges came back; Paulino did not.
A dog walker found Paulino’s decapitated body by the banks of the river.
In court on Monday, Borges sat at the defense table in a new white shirt, turned slightly to listen as the Commonwealth made its case.
Prosecutors said Borges was furious Paulino talked to Borges' girlfriend in the cafeteria at Lawrence High School.
After Borges was allegedly spotted on surveillance video from a home in the area of Paulino’s murder, Gubitose said authorities searched Borges' room and found a notebook in which he allegedly wrote about his plans for killing Paulino.
According to Gubitose, Borges wrote about having a duffel bag, gloves, and clothes he wouldn’t worry about destroying.
“I think of killing someone and I smirk,” the notebook allegedly read.
But Borges’ defense attorney, Ed Hayden, says details in the case are being taken out of context.
Hayden claims social media posts and texts the Commonwealth is referring to had to do only with a burglary Borges was involved in, and not Paulino's murder.
“They want you to think this character trait, jealousy, escalated into a jealous rage,” Hayden said, addressing jurors
He said there was something off about the notebook—"it's written in the third person" and doesn't mention the river or "severing body parts."
Alberto Gonzalez, a friend of Lee Paulino’s family, said that he doesn’t believe Borges acted alone.
"A little kid don’t do something like that,” he said.