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While no verdict could ever erase the pain and suffering that the Paulino family has experienced since their unspeakable, senseless loss, I hope today's verdict will give them some sense of closure and comfort as they continue to mourn Lee's tragic death. I am grateful for the hard work, dedication, and professionalism of District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett's office, the Massachusetts State Police, and the Lawrence Police Detectives who worked tirelessly on this case. -Chief Roy Vasque
District Attorney’s Office
LAWRENCE TEEN CONVICTED OF MURDERING CLASSMATE IN 2016
A Lawrence teenager was found guilty this afternoon of first
degree murder, following a nine-day trial in Salem Superior Court.
Mathew Borges, 18,
was found guilty of murdering his classmate Lee Manuel Villoria-Paulino, 16, on
November 18, 2016. The victim’s
decapitated body was found by a dog walker on the banks of the Merrimack River
on December 1, 2016.
Kazanjian will impose a sentence on July 9 at 2:00 pm. Since Mr. Borges was 15 when he committed the
crime, he faces a sentence of life with the possibility of parole after 30
years. (In 2013, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the
sentence of life without the possibility of parole for a juvenile was
“Nothing can bring
Lee Paulino back to his family, who obviously love and miss him very much. It is my hope that this verdict gives them
some comfort and peace,” Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “I wish to thank the jury for their service
on this very difficult case. I also want
to commend the entire prosecution and investigative team for their tireless
pursuit of justice for Lee Paulino.”
District Attorneys James Gubitose, Jessica Strasnick and David O’Sullivan
represented the Commonwealth. They
acknowledged and thanked Essex Chief of Victim Services Maureen Wilson Leal for
her assistance as well as all of the Lawrence Police and State Police
detectives involved in the investigation, especially Massachusetts State Police
detective Matt Wilson and Lawrence Police detectives Jay Heggarty and Angel
The defendant was
represented by Attorneys Edward Hayden and Amy Smith.