In a rare case in which a car was considered a murder weapon, a Suffolk Superior Court jury convicted a Dorchester man of second-degree murder Friday for driving his car directly into a man he had been fighting with and killing him, officials said.
Antwan Wathey, 26, faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years when he is sentenced Monday, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors said that Wathey and James Taylor, who was 20 years old, got into a quarrel in Dorchester at about 1:15 a.m. April 13, 2012. The two men quarreled verbally before engaging in a physical confrontation, prosecutors said.
Wathey broke off the fight, climbed into his car, and drove directly at Taylor when the victim was standing near the intersection of Talbot Avenue and Westcott Street in Dorchester. Prosecutors charged Wathey with first-degree murder, and not motor vehicle homicide, because they concluded that he deliberately used his car as a weapon. The jury convicted him of second-degree murder, however, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said.
The Globe reported last year that Taylor and Wathey had an ongoing dispute about Wathey’s alleged abuse of Taylor’s cousin, whom Wathey was romantically involved with.
After Friday’s verdict, Taylor’s father took the stand to describe the loss his family suffered, especially Taylor’s younger brother, who cries when characters die in movies they watch together.
“It’s because he’s thinking of James,” the father said. “He wants to be a big brother to his 3-year-old brother, but he can’t look to James to help him because James isn’t here. . . . I’m glad this part is over, but we still face the difficulty of knowing he will never return.”
Conley applauded the jury’s decision, saying: “This was not an accident. This wasn’t negligent or reckless conduct. This was an intentional act using a motor vehicle as a weapon. It’s an appropriate verdict, and I hope Mr. Taylor’s family takes some satisfaction knowing the jury recognized the magnitude of this crime.”John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.