Key gang figure gets life term
From a raised dais in a Boston courtroom Wednesday, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine McEvoy looked straight at Jason Barbosa, 24, a key player in the city's Cape Verdean gang violence.
He had shot at gang rivals, prosecutors said. He was the catalyst in a 2007 shooting that killed Chiara Levin, an innocent young woman from New York who had come to Boston for her aunt's birthday party.
McEvoy had presided over other trials that centered on Cape Verdean gang violence, including the murder trial of the two men who killed Levin. Now, Barbosa was before her, convicted of murdering a young father as he fetched milk for his 2-year-old son.
"It's again another senseless act of violence," McEvoy said in a voice that sounded almost tired. "Mr. Barbosa, go and spend the rest of [your] life in jail."
Barbosa, dressed in yellow prison scrubs, was expressionless as the sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole was handed down for the first degree murder of Anthony Depina, 24.
Suffolk County prosecutors said Barbosa shot Depina, who had once been his friend, in the chest and head on Feb. 23, 2012, after Depina wandered into rival gang territory.
Barbosa was part of a group based on Woodward Avenue in Roxbury that for years has been locked in a deadly feud with another group based on Wendover Street in Dorchester. Depina grew up with Barbosa on Wendover Street, but Barbosa turned on him after he aligned himself with Woodward, according to prosecutors.
A month before Depina was killed, one of Depina's friends shot Barbosa at a South End gas station, prosecutors said.
Barbosa was stoic throughout the hearing, leaning back in his chair when Depina's cousin and girlfriend gave their impact statements to the court.
"My son was so attached to his father," said Jessica Macedo, the mother of Depina's son, who is now 3. "He is so confused and wondering why his father left without saying a word."
Macedo wept as she sat on the witness stand, clutching an enlarged poster of Depina kissing his toddler.
"Anthony is gone," she said. "He will never get to see his son or touch him or kiss him or hug him. There is nothing in the world that's going to replace that feeling."
When Macedo stepped down, she looked straight at Barbosa, who averted his eyes.
Eight Boston police gang unit officers showed up at the courtroom, prepared for any tension that might erupt after the sentencing. But the proceeding went quietly.
"The city is a lot safer now," one detective said.
During the hearing, Assistant Suffolk District Attorney Patrick Haggan ran through Barbosa's long arrest record, which began when he was committed at the age of 13 to the state's Department of Youth Services for larceny and breaking and entering. In the years that followed, he was arrested for a series of offenses, including gun possession and assault.
He was shot at least three times. One of those times was the night of March 24, 2007.
Levin, 22, a University of Michigan graduate, was with friends at a downtown Boston club when she met Manuel Andrade, then a 34-year-old gang member. He invited the group to come to a party in Dorchester on Geneva Avenue.
A free spirit who knew nothing of Andrade's gang ties or the violence that had long plagued Geneva Avenue, Levin went.
Barbosa, one of Andrade's rivals, was also at that party. Andrade shot him, then went outside where he exchanged gunfire with one of Barbosa's friends, Casimiro Barros.
Levin was caught in the crossfire. Barros and Andrade were later convicted and sentenced to up to 30 years and life in prison, respectively, for her killing.
McEvoy recalled how on the night of the shooting, Barbosa went to Boston Medical Center where he was treated for his wounds and interviewed by police about what happened.
"He was in the next room from Chiara Levin as she lay dying," McEvoy said. "And he lied about where he was and how he sustained his injuries."