Decapitation case focuses on text, audio messages

Chilling text and audio messages sent to classmates in 2016 are coming back to haunt Mathew Borges as he goes on trial for the murder and beheading of a fellow classmate at Lawrence High School.

Borges was 15 at the time of Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino’s murder, but he is being tried as an adult because prosecutors believe the crime was premeditated and committed with extreme atrocity and cruelty.

On the first day of the trial in Salem District Court, Borges’s attorney argued his client is guilty of breaking in to Viloria-Paulino’s home along with other kids to steal video games and clothing – but not murder. He said prosecutors have no motive, no murder weapon, no tool used to remove Viloria-Paulino’s head and hands, no blood, no fingerprints, and no DNA. He said the text messages displayed by prosecutors contain no evidence of a crime.

Prosecutors said in their opening statement that Borges told his fellow robbers that he had killed Viloria-Paulino. The prosecutors also said they found a book in Borges’s room in which he plotted the murder, writing about the need to bring along a duffel bag, gloves, and bags to cover his shoes.

Prosecutors suggested jealousy may have been a motive. They put Leilany DeJesus, a former girlfriend, on the stand, who testified that Borges became angry and yelled at her when he found her eating lunch at school with Viloria-Paulino. DeJesus also admitted, however, that Borges apologized the next day and that she never mentioned jealousy in her conversations with police investigators.

Borges’s most recent girlfriend, Stephanie Soriano, read out loud messages she sent to Borges in 2016 while prosecutor Jessica Strasnick read the responses of Borges. A lot of it was teenage relationship talk, accentuated with emojis.

But in November 2016 the messages took a dark turn. “I think of killing someone,” he said in one message. “I like the sound of it, the idea of causing pain. It’s all I think about every day but I control myself. I see people I don’t like [and] that comes to mind. I’m going insane.”

Days later, on Nov. 17, 2016, the day before prosecutors say Borges killed Viloria-Paulino, he messaged Soriano and asked if his eyes looked dead.

“Yours look dark but they wanna shine again,” she typed back.

Borges told her he was thinking thoughts that made him “shiver.” He then sent her a voice memo. “Eyes that are dead are scary…makes you think about what that person has done. What they’ve been through. What they’ve seen. Eyes that don’t shine, that are full of darkness,” Borges said in the recording. “It’s just sad. It’s like these people are different. They’ve done things that make them lose their humanity. Like they have no soul. They just have big black pupils.”

He would have dead eyes soon, Borges told Soriano.

On November 20, 2016, Borges texted Soriano, asking her to delete their conversation. A week later he texted her again, saying “keep everything I tell you to yourself.”

On December 3, 2016, Viloria-Paulino’s body was discovered on the Lawrence riverfront.



Gov. Charlie Baker says he’s opposed to new taxes to support transportation infrastructure, but his administration is leading a regional effort to put a price on carbon in vehicle fuels, which would have much the same impact. (CommonWealth)

Matt Beaton, the governor’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, is leaving the cabinet this week and being replaced by his undersecretary of climate change, Katherine Theoharides. (MassLive)

House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who wields power over everything from the legislative agenda to which reps gets positions with extra pay, said of his conversations with lawmakers during the recent budget approval, “everyone that I spoke to was pleased with the process and felt it was one of the best budgets they were involved with.” (Boston Herald)

Support is growing for Sen. Eric Lesser’s bill to clamp down on patent trolls. (Boston Globe)

Massachusetts is one of several states considering legislation that would assess a tax on sugary soft drinks, but the odds of passage are not good. The American Beverage Association, Coca-Cola, and Pepsi have blocked efforts in other states, and no state has successfully passed such a tax since 1992. In Massachusetts, the pro-soft drink forces haven’t even bothered to mobilize yet. (Governing)


The Wayland selectmen and Zoning Board of Appeals violated the state’s open meeting law, according to Attorney General Maura Healey. (MetroWest Daily News)

Methuen hired Maggie Duprey as its chief administrative financial officer, a state-mandated position for the financially strapped city who will report directly to the mayor. (Eagle-Tribune)

Salem is selling its old senior center to a private developer for $1.35 million, but the buyer will need city council approval to go ahead with plans for a 16-unit condominium. (Salem News)

Quincy residents say they’re skeptical of Mayor Thomas Koch’s plan to link the redevelopment of their Hospital Hill neighborhood to the construction of a 200,000-square-foot medical facility, 110 apartments, and a 140-room hotel on the site of a strip mall and former parking garage. (Patriot Ledger)

Rent control is back on the radar 25 years after it was outlawed through a statewide ballot question. (Boston Globe)


Joe Biden leads the field in the first poll of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters after his entry into the presidential race. (Boston Globe)


Unions are flexing their muscle in the face of economic inequality. (Boston Globe)

Town meeting in Lynnfield shoots down a proposal to allow an over-55 housing project on Main Street. “We must vote to stop this nonsense,” said a critic of the proposal. (Daily Item)


Controversy over a panel discussion on Palestinian rights scheduled for this weekend at UMass Amherst is now in court, where three Jewish students have brought suit to force the event off campus, arguing the event is discriminatory toward Jews. (Boston Globe)

At WGBH, Bianca Vázquez Toness reviewed the three candidates for Boston school superintendent, and found Marie Izquierdo was the most critical of the status quo with a spelled-out plan for change; Brenda Cassellius was laconic, and said working in Minnesota politics taught her to be tactful; and Oscar Santos laid out some changes he would make, and highlighted his local experience.


Northeastern University’s Public Health Advocacy Institute has plans to sue JUUL Labs for allegedly marketing its nicotine products to minors. (WBUR)

Five nursing homes — three in New Bedford, on in Dighton, and one in Fall River — are placed in receivership after Attorney General Maura Healey  successfully petitioned Suffolk Superior Court. Healey’s office argued more than 200 residents could be at risk of injury or death due to lack of supplies and low staffing levels. (South Coast Today)

Michael Stein and Jon Kingsdale of the Boston University School of Public Health say there are lots of reasons to be wary of Medicare for All. (Boston Globe) CommonWealth recently reported on opposition to the proposal from the state’s hospital association.


The Clark Art Institute in Williamstown is demanding that a German political party stop using an image of one of its artworks in campaign posters. The artwork depicts a slave auction in 1866 and the political party, Alternative for Germany, is using the image to warn of the dangers of immigration. (Associated Press)

The latest Avengers movie sets a weekend record at the box office ($350 million in the US, $1.2 billion globally) and the final season of Game of Thrones is drawing a huge audience on HBO. (Associated Press/CBS News)

A mirrored hot-air balloon that is the creation of artist Doug Aitken will visit eight or nine locations in Massachusetts starting in July. (WBUR)


The MBTA discloses problems with the installation of an anti-collision system that began surfacing in February and could have a major impact on the state’s commuter rail system if not cleared up soon. (CommonWealth)

T notes: More disruption coming at Charles Circle…Officials try to curb usage of the T’s paratransit service…Winning bid for new Chelsea commuter rail station comes in way above estimate. (CommonWealth)

The Boston Herald reports that interviews are nearly complete in the search for a new CEO at Massport.


As part of a federal effort to preserve the right whale population, a group of lobster industry stakeholders agreed to a recommendation to reduce by half the length of their trap ropes, which can cause entanglement, the leading cause of injury and death for the whales. (WBUR)

Voters in Wellfleet at the annual town election Monday approved 10 spending proposals, including $7.5 million for harbor dredging and $2 million to buy more than 200 acres of tidal flats and a 1-mile beach off Indian Neck. (Cape Cod Times)


Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan and her Suffolk County counterpart, Rachael Rollins, joined immigration advocates in a lawsuit suit attempting to block federal immigration agents from prowling state courthouses.looking for undocumented immigrants. (CommonWealth) Ryan said she decided to go to court after Immigration and Customs Enforcement refused to address more than 12 instances where federal officials interfered with business at local courts. (CommonWealth) Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson thinks the lawsuit is a bad idea. (MassLive) So does Herald columnist Joe Battenfeld.

A Lynnfield fire captain is accused of walking into a 7-Eleven without any clothes on, but he says it never happened. (Daily Item)


At the Des Moines Register, which specializes in covering the Iowa caucuses, the shrinking newsroom means it’s all hands on deck for politics. (Politico)


Tom Ellis, an iconic New England newscaster who served as anchor at three of Boston’s network affiliates and NECN, died of lung cancer. (Cape Cod Times)