SALEM, Mass. — The young woman said she was "born and raised in Lawrence." She didn't know teens Mathew Borges or the late Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino personally, but she has friends who do.

"You always hear about what happened or what could have happened," the woman replied, answering a question from Judge Helene Kazanjian who was trying to determine if the woman could be an impartial juror.

She also told the judge that more than a decade ago someone tried to frame her brother for murder.

"It showed me someone can be wrongly accused of something," the woman said. She was not chosen for duty.

Jury empanelment in the first-degree murder trial for Borges, 17, started Monday in Salem Superior Court. Dozens of prospective jurors were interviewed by Kazanjian and attorneys involved in the case.

Sixteen jurors, which includes four alternates, are sought in a process that could take several days. Only eight were seated on the jury Monday.

Opening statements, originally slated for Wednesday, have now been pushed to 9 a.m. Monday, April 29, in courtroom J at Salem Superior Court.

Borges is accused of killing and beheading his Lawrence High School classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, whose body was found dismembered on a Lawrence riverbank Dec. 1, 2016. Prosecutors have said the killing was premeditated and with extreme cruelty and atrocity.

Viloria-Paulino's relatives, including his mother and grandparents, sat in the courtroom gallery during jury selection.

One of Kazanjian's questions to prospective jurors was their feelings about the ages of the victim and the accused at the time of the crime. Borges was 15 years, 9 months old at the time of the crime while Viloria-Paulino was 16 years, 6 months old.

Borges is being tried as an adult.

Jurors were also asked if they could handle the trial's expected schedule: three weeks to a month.

They were also questioned about their feelings on hearing descriptions and seeing photographs of a decomposed and dismembered body.

"We don't expect people to come in here and not have a human reaction," Kazanjian explained to a young mother.

"I'm generally an emotional person. I also get anxious when I see things like that," the woman said. She was not selected for the jury.

Some potential jurors had practical issues that prevented them from serving, such as self-employment, or nonrefundable vacations planned.

"I've got three small kids and my wife doesn't work," said one man, who was wearing a black hoodie with a plumber's logo on it.

Another man, who said he is self-employed, has six children.

Both men were excused from duty.

Another Lawrence resident, a middle-aged woman, said she heard a lot about the crime and the allegations against Borges. The woman wore a black T-shirt that read, "Ew, people."

When asked if she could be fair, the woman replied, "I'm not really sure how to answer that." She was also excused from duty.

A 59-year-old Andover woman was seated on jury after she said she wasn't bothered by the teens' ages, graphic pictures or even the possibility that Borges might not testify during the trial.

Kazanjian told her to report for duty Monday morning but not to research anything about the murder.

"I don't want you knowing anything more about the case when you come in here next week," the judge said.

Another woman was very straight with Kazanjian and told her point blank she could not be an impartial juror.

"Because mothers are supposed to protect their sons," the woman said, prompting her being excused from jury duty.

An employed teacher and a Boston area firefighter were among those seated on the jury Monday.

During the trial, prosecutors plan to introduce a variety of material, including Facebook private messages, group messages and iPhone text messages as evidence.

The trial will include a “view,” which involves busing jurors to the scene of the crime, which in this case is a riverbank off Water Street in Lawrence.

Jurors may also visit a street associated with the case.

The list of potential witnesses who will testify during the trial is lengthy and includes hundreds of names. Viloria-Paulino’s mother and grandparents are among those listed, as well as dozens of Lawrence police officers and state troopers who investigated the case.

Numerous expert witnesses are expected to testify, as well.

Trial exhibits are expected to include photographs, surveillance videos, audio recordings and clothing, according to court papers.

Borges has been held without bail since his arrest Dec. 3, 2016.

Previously held at a juvenile detention facility in Dorchester, Borges is now 17 and currently held at Middleton Jail, according to court papers.

Borges previously had long, bushy hair. He now has very short hair and a small mustache.

In court Monday, Borges wore black dress pants, a white oxford shirt and a striped tie.

Recommended for you