SALEM, Mass. – A Massachusetts teenager convicted of the fatal stabbing and decapitation murder of a high school classmate has been sentenced to life in prison.

Mathew Borges, now 18, of Lawrence, will be eligible for parole in 30 years because he was a juvenile at the time of the killing.  Had he been an adult, the punishment would have been life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A jury convicted Borges of first-degree murder two months ago in the death of classmate Lee Manuel Viloria-Paulino, whose remains were found  by a dog walker along the banks of the Merrimack River in Lawrence on Dec. 1, 2016.

Prosecutors said Borges stabbed the victim several times, then severed his head and hands, in jealousy over a girl. They said he had homicidal tendencies that contributed to the gruesome murder.

Katiuska Paulino, the victim’s mother, described her son at Tuesday’s sentencing hearing as a dreamer, poet and writer who was a “sincere, loving, responsible, charismatic and altruistic young man. Now, with him gone, we feel like we just can’t breathe.”

The Eagle-Tribune in North Andover, Mass., contributed this story’s details.

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