By Jill Harmacinski
---- — LAWRENCE — Antonio Frazier and Scott Brown escaped first-degree murder charges but were convicted of lesser offenses by a Lawrence Superior Court jury yesterday.
Frazier, 26, of Mattapan was convicted of the second-degree murder of Gustavo Perez, 39, in 2011 and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
His accused accomplice, Brown, 26, of Brockton, beat the murder charge altogether. He was convicted of assault and battery and sentenced to two years in jail.
A conviction on first-degree murder carries a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Frazier and Brown were charged with killing Perez, of Lawrence, in an execution-style slaying on Essex Street in Lawrence on Nov. 29, 2011.
At 4:30 p.m. that day, Perez stepped outside the Italian American Club when he had a gun emptied into him. Frazier was the shooter and was accompanied by Brown. Six bullets were found in Perez’s brain and torso, according to testimony.
Numerous people who witnessed the shooting that afternoon testified in court. Lawrence police officer Joseph Padellaro, who was on his way to work and heard gunshots, also testified during the trial, which opened on Tuesday, March 11.
Defense attorneys for Frazier and Brown argued there were no forensics in the case — DNA, fingerprints or gunshot residue — linking their clients to the crime. Frazier’s attorney Jeffrey Karp, and Edward Hayden, who represented Brown, also said there inconsistencies in witness accounts of the crime.
But Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said Frazier and Brown had come to Lawrence that afternoon to commit a “cold-blooded execution-style” murder. Perez ran a gambling room at the Italian-American Club on Essex Street where, MacDougall said, “up to $20,000 could be won or lost with the roll of the dice.”
Jurors started deliberating Wednesday afternoon and reached a verdict yesterday around 1 p.m.
Deadlocked on Thursday, the jurors were given additional instructions by Judge Douglas Wilkins on Friday morning and sent back to deliberate.
A father of three, Perez was a native of Nagua in the northeastern part of the Dominican Republic. He immigrated to Lawrence as a youngster and later graduated from Lawrence High School.