The trial of a Lawrence, Massachusetts teenager charged with the gruesome beheading death of a fellow classmate got underway Monday.
Mathew Borges, 17, was indicted for the murder of 16-year-old Lawrence High School classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino. The victim’s headless body was discovered by a woman walking her dog along the banks of the Merrimack River. His head was found nearby.
Viloria-Paulino was last seen alive on Nov. 18, 2016. The boy’s family said police never took the case seriously after they reported the victim missing two weeks before his decapitated body was discovered on Dec. 1, 2016.
Borges' ex-girlfriend testified Monday that Borges became jealous and enraged after he saw her talking with Viloria-Paulino at school. She said Borges accused her of flirting and said one time Borges was so angry that a dean had to escort him out of the cafeteria.
She said Borges eventually broke up with her because he thought she was cheating on him with other people. She said he had a list of names that included Viloria-Paulino.
Prosecutors said in their opening statements that they plan to show that Borges planned to kill Viloria-Paulino, and surveillance video shows him walking toward the river with Viloria-Paulino on the night of his death.
A short time later, four people were seen breaking into Viloria-Paulino's home. Prosecutors said those people are friends of Borges who later told investigators he had admitted to killing Viloria-Paulino.
Prosecutors read from a journal entry written by Borges that they said outlines the crime. "Go chill with him in his crib alone... bring duffel bag, wear bags on shoes, wear clothes you don't care about."
The defense, however, argued Monday 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.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
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.
The Essex District Attorney’s Office said last week that a jury had been selected for the trial. Opening statements began Monday morning in Salem Superior Court.