SALEM, MASS. (WHDH) - A teenager accused of decapitating his Lawrence High School classmate in 2016 may have been fueled by jealousy, prosecutors said Monday as opening statements in his murder trial got underway.
Jury selection in 17-year-old Mathew Borges’ trial took place last week in Salem Superior Court following several postponements, and for the first time in more than two years, prosecutors on Monday revealed a possible motive in the brutal beheading of 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino.
Borges is charged with first-degree murder in the November 2016 death of Viloria-Paulino. He was 15 at the time but is being tried as an adult.
Viloria-Paulino’s body was found near the Merrimack River by a woman walking her dog, a couple of weeks after his family reported him missing. Police found his head nearby. Borges allegedly told police that he and Viloria-Paulino went to the river to smoke marijuana and then split up.
Prosecutors introduced a journal that Borges and his girlfriend kept together, which indicated jealousy was a likely driving factor in the murder of Viloria-Paulino.
Borges, who was sporting a white dress shirt a much shorter hair during his court appearance, wrote an entry about growing angry after seeing Viloria-Paulino sitting with his girlfriend in the school cafeteria and accused her of sleeping with the victim, according to prosecutors.
Borges’ former girlfriend, Leilany DeJesus, testified that she was sitting next to the victim when he approached them in a fit of rage.
“Matthew approached the table and Manny and me were sitting next to each other,” she told the court. “He yelled at me about he [Viloria-Paulino] being friendly with me because we were making jokes with each other but he thought they were flirty.”
The prosecution also referenced text messages Borges allegedly sent to Stephanie Soriano, another one of his high school classmates.
“I think of killing someone and I smirk. I like the sound of it. The idea of causing pain on someone who is getting in my way,” Borges is said to have written in one text.
The last entry in the journal was a “kill note,” which prosecutors say was written in the third-person without mention of the victim.
A person claiming to be the suspect’s friend told detectives that Borges came to him saying he “did something bad” and he “stabbed and cut his head off,” according to authorities.
Viloria-Paulino’s family have said that police mishandled their son’s disappearance after initially insisting that their son had run away.
Borges’ defense has suggested that Viloria-Paulino may have been killed in a violent gang attack. No DNA, no weapon and no physical evidence that link Borges to the crime have been found.
Police officers and members of the victim’s family are expected to take the stand next.
A not guilty plea was previously entered on behalf of Borges.
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