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Appeals court upholds conviction in ‘07 slaying of woman

The Massachusetts Appeals Court upheld a former Roxbury man’s conviction on voluntary manslaughter charges in the 2007 shooting death of a 22-year-old woman who was caught in a crossfire between gang rivals on a Dorchester street, authorities said Tuesday.

Casimiro Barros, 26, argued that evidence introduced at ­trial of his gang affiliation and the group’s ongoing feud with the gang of his intended target was prejudicial, but the appeals court found that the information was critical to the jury’s under­standing of the case, prosecutors said.

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Barros’s appellate lawyer did not return calls left at his listed office number Tuesday evening seeking comment.

Authorities said that Barros fatally shot Chiara Levin, 22, in the head on March 24, 2007, as she sat in a vehicle on Geneva Avenue, but he was aiming for gang rival Manuel “Spank” ­Andrade, now 39, who had shot Barros’s friend in the chest ­moments earlier.

“The trial prosecutor did an outstanding job of introducing gang evidence without unfairly prejudicing the defendant,” said Daniel F. Conley, the ­Suffolk district attorney.

The appeals court also reject­ed Barros’s argument that a prosecutor made improper ­remarks during closing arguments, the statement said.

In addition to voluntary manslaughter, Barros was convicted of weapons charges and sentenced to 27½ to 30 years , according to Conley’s ­office. Barros was initially charged with first-degree murder.

Andrade was convicted in a separate trial of first-degree murder for his role in the gunfight that killed Levin. The man he was also convicted of shooting survived.

Andrade received a sentence of life without possibility of ­parole, plus an additional 30 years in prison, Conley’s office said. An appeal of his conviction is pending with the state’s Supreme Judicial Court.

In Massachusetts, anyone in a gunfight that results in a ­bystander ­being killed can be charged with murder.

The Globe reported in 2009 that Levin was visiting Boston from New York to attend her great aunt’s 90th birthday party and met Andrade at a nightclub. ­Andrade invited Levin and her friendsto a party in his neighborhood, where she was later killed, authorities said.

Levin’s father, William, said by phone from Kentucky Tuesday night that he and his wife were pleased by the appeals court ruling in the Barros case.

He said his daughter graduated from the University of Michigan and was working for a New York talent agent at the time of her death, which he continues to grieve.

“It doesn’t end,” he said. “This is one of those things I don’t think you really ever get over. At least we haven’t.”

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.
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