Teen Sentenced To Life In Prison In Lawrence Beheading

matthew borges

Matthew Borges in court Tuesday for sentencing. (WBZ-TV)

SALEM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Lawrence teenager convicted in the brutal murder of a classmate has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 30 years.

Matthew Borges, now 18, was found guilty two months ago of first-degree murder in the killing of 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, whose body was found decapitated and mutilated by the banks of the Merrimack River in 2016.

Prosecutors said Borges killed Paulino in a spat over a girl.

Paulino's family was present in Salem Superior Court Tuesday for Borges' sentencing, wearing black shirts reading "We want answers! We need answers! We Want Justice! Lee Manuel."

Katiuska Paulino, Lee's mother, gave an emotional victim impact statement to the court as the rest of Paulino's family wept.

"There are no more dreams for the dreamer, the brother, the writer and the poet that was Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino," she said. "He has been the soul of this family since he was born ... We are the living dead after he was brutally ripped from our side."

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said the verdict won't bring back Lee, but that he hopes it brings a sense of justice to the family.

“This vicious murder claimed more than just Lee Paulino’s life," Blodgett said in a release. "Its brutality was shocking to the community and tore at our sense of decency and humanity. Most of all, it has devastated all those who loved Lee. His family will never celebrate his graduation or his birthday. They will never know what he would have become. It is a loss that simply cannot be measured."

Since Borges was 15 at the time of the killing, he was not able to be sentenced to life without parole under Massachusetts law.

Prosecutors argued for and got the maximum sentence for Borges, while defense attorney Ed Hayden pushed for an earlier chance at parole for his client.

“He has been convicted of a horrible offense, but he is not irredeemably depraved,” Hayden said. "He committed this offense when he was 15. People change."

Borges had an opportunity to address the court, but chose not to.

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WBZ NewsRadio's Karyn Regal (@Karynregal) reports

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