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Deliberations Underway in Trial of Teen Charged With Beheading Classmate

Lawrence resident Mathew Borges, who was charged with the beheading death of 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, was 16 at the time of the murder but is being tried as an adult

Jurors began deliberating Monday in the trial of a teenager charged with killing and beheading a high school classmate.

Both sides presented their closing arguments in the trial of 18-year-old Mathew Borges on Monday morning in Salem Superior Court. Jurors began deliberating around 11:45 a.m. and were sent home for the day without reaching a verdict. They will continue deliberating on Tuesday.

Borges is accused of killing 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino in November 2016. Prosecutors said he was jealous the victim had spent time with his girlfriend.

Viloria-Paulino's body was found along the banks of the Merrimack River by a dog-walker. His head was found in a bag nearby. Investigators never found his hands.

The teens were classmates at Lawrence High School. Borges was 15 at the time and is charged with first-degree murder. A spokesperson for the Essex District Attorney’s office said the law requires the state to try him as an adult, but due to his age, he would be eligible for parole if convicted.

Prosecutors said in their closing arguments that "every piece of evidence" points to Borges.

"There's no hidden mystery. The case is right in front of you," said assistant district attorney Jay Gubitose.

Gubitose ended by holding up a photo of Viloria-Paulino as his family sobbed in the courtroom.

Defense attorney Ed Hayden, meanwhile, argued that there is no physical evidence tying Borges to the crime. He also said the prosecution's witnesses lied.

"There's too many unanswered questions. There is too little evidence," said Hayden.

The defense did not call any witnesses of its own before resting its case on Thursday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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