BOSTON, May 1, 2013—The man convicted of stabbing 19-year-old Kenneth Soto to death was sentenced to life in prison today, while the friend who tried to help him to evade arrest received jail time and a request to write a letter to Soto’s grieving family, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
A Suffolk Superior Court jury found HECTOR “NEMO” SOTO (D.O.B. 3/16/91) of Roslindale guilty of second-degree murder on April 23. At a hearing this morning, Judge Raymond Brassard handed down the mandatory sentence for that crime, life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years. Hector Soto and Kenneth Soto were not related.
“Everything we know about this case tells us that Kenneth Soto didn’t have to die,” Conley said. “The defendant could have walked away at any point, but he made a different choice instead, one that brought so much sadness to so many people. I want to commend the witnesses who testified at these proceedings, the prosecutors and detectives who worked so hard to help them do so, and most of all Kenneth’s family for the strength and grace they’ve shown against the painful backdrop of their loss.”
CHRISTIAN RIVERA (D.O.B. 12/17/88) of Mission Hill, who was convicted at the same trial of being an accessory after the fact to Kenneth Soto’s murder, received a sentence of 2½ years in a house of correction, with 12 months to serve and the balance suspended for a period of five years during which he must complete 10 hours of community service each month. Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Hickman, who tried the case to last week’s convictions, recommended a sentence that would have entailed six more months of jail time.
Brassard requested – though did not require – that Rivera write a letter to Kenneth Soto’s family, through the Probation Department, expressing his regret for his role in Soto’s murder and his understanding of the harm that his actions caused to both the victim’s family and on society as a whole.
An impact statement was read to the court by two of Soto’s family members.
“Kenny’s light of his eyes were his nephews and nieces. They are constantly asking when he’s coming back,” they said. “We have also lost the light of our eyes.”
During the nine-day trial, Hickman presented evidence and testimony proving that Hector Soto and Kenneth Soto each arrived at a Centre Street convenience store with separate groups in the early morning of Oct. 16, 2011. After the two became involved in a physical altercation, Hector Soto stabbed the victim nine times in a period of 15 seconds.
Kenneth Soto stumbled into the 7-11, where he collapsed. He was pronounced dead at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Hector Soto and Rivera fled the scene to Rivera’s home.
Rivera, who was present at the time of the incident, lied to police during an interview one week later in an attempt to help Hector Soto avoid the consequences of his violent crime. Prosecutors indicted him for allegedly taking part in the physical confrontation that preceded the stabbing, but he was acquitted of that offense.
Michael Schultz was the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Hector Soto was represented by Jeffrey Karp. Rivera was represented by Leonard Milligan.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.