A teenager who was just 15 years old when he beheaded and cut off the hands of a friend has been sentenced to life in prison the US.
Matthew Borges mutilated and then killed 16-year-old Lee Manuel Villoria-Paulino in December 2016.
Prosecutors had argued Paulino had been killed because Borges was jealous of the time the victim had been spending with his girlfriend, CNN reported.
Paulino’s mother told the court through tears: "Every day we struggle with the fact that his life was cut too short.”
"We drove ourselves crazy trying to make sense of what had been done."
Borges, now 18, has been handed two life sentences.
The victim’s body was later found dumped on the bank of the Merrimack River near the city of Lawrence in Massachusetts.
A jury had previously found him guilty of first-degree murder with "deliberate premeditation” involving “extreme atrocity and cruelty", WCVB reported.
In sentencing, Judge Helene Kazanjian called the jail-term “appropriate” despite Borge’s young age at the time of the murder.
“There is no sentence I can impose that will bring back Lee Paulino, or that will answer the questions that we all have about how this happened, and how a 15-year-old boy could kill a friend in this manner," she said.
Borges’ sentence was delivered after the court had heard from the victim’s mother who reportedly cried as she told the judge her son’s killer "should never have the opportunity to kill again, to rob another person of their life”.
The victim’s friends and family who attended court on Tuesday all wore black t-shirts bearing a photograph of Paulino’s face.
The offender’s attorney argued that Borges should receive the possibility of parole after 25 years because he was a child at the time of the murder and had the potential for rehabilitation.
"He is not irredeemably depraved. There is hope for his redemption. He can change his life," the lawyer told the court.
WCVB reported that so much trauma had been inflicted on Paulino’s body they could not determine whether he had been beheaded before or after his death.
The news outlet further stated that a dog-walker had found the 16-year-old’s body on the riverbank. His head was later found nearby but his hands have never been recovered.
Borges will serve two life sentences concurrently and will be eligible for parole in 30 years.