Read: Mother of victim in Lawrence decapitation killing urged court to impose maximum sentence on Matthew Borges

"With the assassination of Lee Manuel we were also assassinated, because Lee was everything for this family."

A family member of Lee Manual Viloria-Paulino, shows the  T-shirts family members are wearing during the trial of Matthew Borges, who is accused of decapitating  Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, a fellow classmate. Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe.
Family members of Lee Manual Viloria-Paulino wore T-shirts with the teen's image during the trial of Matthew Borges, who was convicted of the 16-year-old's murder. –Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe

The 18-year-old convicted of fatally stabbing and decapitating his Lawrence High School classmate in 2016 was sentenced Tuesday to the maximum allowable sentence for the slaying — a punishment the victim’s mother urged the court to impose in an emotional statement.

Matthew Borges was sentenced to life in prison with a possibility of parole in 30 years for killing 16-year-old Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino. Borges was 15 at the time of the murder.

Paulino’s mother, Katiuska Paulino, did not mention her son’s murderer by name, referring to Borges only as the “criminal” and “assassin” who took her 16-year-old’s life as she asked the court to hand down the maximum punishment.

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“Lee Manuel has always been immensely important to us, but now with him gone, we feel like we can’t breathe,” she told the court. “Lee Manuel was, and will continue to be our oxygen. He has been the soul of this family since he was born, and in spite of us standing here today, we are the living dead after he was brutally ripped from our side.”

Katiuska Paulino, the mother of Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, speaks to the media at Lawrence District Court in December 2016. —Mark Lorenz for the Boston Globe

Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said in a statement following the sentencing that the “vicious murder” claimed more than just the life of the 16-year-old.

“Its brutality was shocking to the community and tore at our sense of decency and humanity. Most of all, it has devastated all those who loved Lee,” the DA said. “His family will never celebrate his graduation or his birthday. They will never know what he would have become. It is a loss that simply cannot be measured. Understanding that there is no number of years that can restore this family’s loss, it is my hope that they can now find some peace.”

Read the full statement read by Katiuska Paulino below:

Our names are Katiuska Paulino, Ivelisse Cornielle, Gustavo, Julik and Samuel Paulino, we are the Mother, Grandmother, Grandfather, and uncles of Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino.

On November 18, 2016, our world was irreversibly changed when Lee was taken from us. He was just 16 years old when he was murdered. And every day we struggle with the fact that his life was cut so short, when he was on the cusp of so much. But, that wasn’t enough for the criminal that took his life. As found by the jury through the evidence presented in this trial, our Lee Manuel’s murder was not only premeditated, but carried out with extreme atrocity and cruelty.

In the weeks before his remains were found and the years leading up to this conviction, we drove ourselves crazy trying to make sense of what had been done. We wondered hopelessly, what we could have done differently and tried to understand why someone would plan to commit such a horrible crime to such an amazing person. From the moment that the news became public, all we’ve heard is an outpouring of sentiments echoing the facts that we knew to be true: LEE MANUEL VILORIA-PAULINO was a sincere, loving, responsible, charismatic and altruistic young man on the verge of seizing life that had many, many goals truncated.

With the assassination of Lee Manuel we were also assassinated, because Lee was everything for this family. Katiuska’s first born son, Gustavo and Ivelisse’s first grandchild, and Samuel and Julik’s first nephew. Lee Manuel has always been immensely important to us, but now with him gone, we feel like we can’t breathe. Lee Manuel was, and will continue to be our oxygen. He has been the soul of this family since he was born, and in spite of us standing here today, we are the living dead after he was brutally ripped from our side.

There are no more dreams for the dreamer, the brother, the writer, and the poet that was Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, because the mind of this criminal landed on him as a target and decided to take his life. There are no more trips for us with Lee, and there is no more happy home projects if we cannot include him. Our lovely one, Lee Manuel, was the driving force behind so many of the activities we used to do and loved bringing the family together. Sharing a meal as a family was one of his favorite things and because of this, he always looked forward to Thanksgiving celebration. We will never again have a thanksgiving dinner, because Lee Manuel was torn from our arms just a few days before Thanksgiving of 2016.

Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino was a great servant at our church, where he volunteered full of love and dedication. Everybody there misses him dearly. He put his soul into the last activity they had about a month before this tragedy, where he painted more than a hundred twenty glasses with a beautiful, positive message to the youth.

Despite whatever sentence is decided upon, we understand that nothing will bring Lee back to us. However, we feel that this criminal deserves to spend his life incarcerated so at the very least, it serves to keep him off the streets. He should never have the opportunity to kill again, to rob another person of their life like he did Lee Manuel, in such a horrible and sad way. We hope that the sentence handed down serves to help him find remorse and repentance in his life.

We reaffirm that the assassin of Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino should receive the maximum sentence.