‘I’m Gonna Kill Someone’: Chilling Testimony in Lawrence Beheading Trial

Prosecutors say Mathew Borges decapitated his 16-year-old classmate out of an act of jealousy

Jurors heard more explosive testimony Thursday in the trial for a Massachusetts teenager accused of beheading his classmate.

One friend of defendant Mathew Borges told jurors that Borges confessed to the Dec. 1, 2016 murder of 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino over the phone. The juvenile witness said after stealing items from the victim's home, another friend got a call from Borges.

"I heard him say he's dead," said the juvenile witness during cross examination.

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The witness admitted he lied about his involvement when he was called before the grand jury, saying he was afraid of being charged for breaking and entering.

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

While jurors were shown screenshots of the Facebook chat, Mejia described how Borges and his friends talked at length about their plan to steal things from the victim's home.

"We doing this today," one friend asked in the chat. "Yeah around 5:30 p.m. I'll get him out of the house whenever I can," wrote another.

The October 2016 chat took place ahead of the discovery of Viloria-Paulino's body being found in the Merrimack River.

"Guys, I'm gonna kill someone on Halloween," Borges 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.

Borges, 18, is charged with the murder of his Lawrence High School classmate.

In audio played for jurors on 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 he was 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.

The man who made the grisly discovery testified earlier in the week.

"As I approached I saw [the dog] sniffing at a particular area and when I looked I thought I saw a dead body but I wasn't sure because it was missing some limbs," Omar Medina of Lawrence said.

Prosecutors said surveillance footage shows the suspect walking toward the river with the victim on the night of his death. A short time later, four people are seen breaking into Viloria-Paulino's home.

Prosecutors said those people are friends of Borges, who later told investigators he had admitted to killing the 16-year-old.

Angel Betancourt, one of the four who allegedly broke into the victim's home and stole items, said that "the plan was to go into Lee's house and take some stuff." 

Betancourt also testified that after they completed the theft, the group got a call from Borges who told them "My hands are bloody. He came at me the wrong way so I had to do what I had to do."

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, have 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.

The defense also said prosecutors are trying to escalate Borges' jealousy to murder. They also said he was in the early stages of dating a new girl.

Borges was 15 years old at the time of the killing, according to authorities. He is now being tried as an adult. He was ordered held without bail during a hearing on March 2017.

Testimony continues Friday, when jurors will visit the area where Viloria-Paulino's body was found.

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