A Suffolk Superior Court jury found alleged MS-13 gang member Santos Portillo guilty Friday of second-degree in the death of Braulio Gomez, who was killed on a Chelsea street because Portillo wrongly believed that Gomez was in a rival gang, prosecutors said.
The verdict followed two weeks of testimony and two days of jury deliberation. Portillo was also found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm.
“This result would not have been possible without the witnesses who spoke to investigators, testified in the grand jury, and took the stand at trial,” Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement.
In court, Portillo, 22, of Chelsea, wore a set of earphones, listening to a Spanish translator providing him with an account of the proceedings.
Prosecutors said witnesses testified that about 2:20 a.m. July 16, 2011, Portillo approached Gomez, 38, and a group of men on the porch of a Central Avenue house.
Portillo asked Gomez what “set,” or gang, he belonged to. Gomez responded that he did not belong to a gang. Portillo identified himself as a member of the MS-13 gang, placed a gun to Gomez’s head, and fatally shot him, the statement said.
Prosecutors said Portillo was identified from a photo array by multiple witnesses.
Portillo fled the state after the shooting. He was apprehended Sept, 15, 2011, outside Columbus, Ohio, prosecutors said. He will be sentenced Wednesday. He faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years, the mandatory term for second-degree murder.Todd Feathers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.