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Jurors in Lawrence Beheading Trial Visit Site of Murder

Mathew Borges, 18, was 15 at the time of classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino's murder, but he was charged as an adult

The first-degree murder trial for a Massachusetts teenager accused of beheading his classmate continued Friday with jurors visiting the crime scene.

Mathew Borges, 18, has been charged with the murder of fellow Lawrence High School classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, whose body was found on Dec. 1, 2016.

On the fifth day of the trial, jurors at Salem Superior Court visited several sites including where prosecutors say Viloria-Paulino's body was found.

"We're about to visit several places about which you have heard testimony," the judge told jurors before they boarded a bus. "Your responsibility on the view is to see the places observe them carefully and remember what you see."

The jury visited Viloria-Paulino's home and also the riverbank where his body was found.

Chilling testimony earlier in the week revealed that Borges allegedly confessed to the killing during a phone call. Witness Angel Betancourt said in court that after stealing items from the victim's home, the group got a call from the defendant.

Betancourt, one of the four who allegedly broke into the victim's home the night of his murder, said Borges told them, "My hands are bloody. He came at me the wrong way so I had to do what I had to do."

A juvenile witness reiterated Betancourt's statement during his cross examination on Thursday.

"I heard him say 'He's dead,'" the witness said.

Jurors also heard testimony from Lawrence Police Officer Angel Mejia about his investigation into an October 2016 group Facebook chat involving the defendant and friends.

The group chat took place ahead of the discovery of Viloria-Paulino's body being found in the Merrimack River and detailed their plans to steal things from the victim's home.

"Guys, I'm gonna kill someone on Halloween," Borges allegedly wrote. "I'm not lying. So if ya hear someone dead on the news that we know, I just wanna say that y'all gonna look at me different."

The defense argued Borges was joking about wanting to kill the victim.

In audio played for jurors Wednesday, the suspect could be heard telling Officer John Heggarty that he and the victim went to the Merrimack River to smoke marijuana on the day Viloria-Paulino went missing.

Borges said he left before the victim did and that this was the last time he saw him. Haggerty, however, said in the recording that Borges' account "doesn't make sense."

Viloria-Paulino's headless body was discovered two weeks after his disappearance by a man walking his dog. Prosecutors said the victim's hands had also been cut off and that his head was found nearby in a bag weighted down with rocks.

Borges was 15 years old at the time of the murder, but he was charged as an adult. He was ordered held without bail during a hearing on March 2017.

Prosecutors said during opening statements Monday that the murder of Viloria-Paulino was fueled by jealousy. They said Borges would get angry with his classmate when his then-girlfriend would speak to the victim.

The defense, however, has argued that Borges is only guilty of being involved in the break-in and nothing more. They said there is no evidence he killed Viloria-Paulino.

Testimony will resume on Monday. The trial is expected to last at least two more weeks.

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