• Gang member gets life in prison for murder of South End teen


    BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – A Suffolk Superior Court judge sentenced a 19-year-old to life in prison for the murder of a promising South End teen.

    Ricardo Arias, formerly of Roslindale, was convicted of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm for the shooting death of 18-year-old Alex Sierra. Sierra was killed near the intersection of West Brookline and Tremont streets on Sept. 3, 2011.

    The judge also sentenced Arias to an additional term of three to five years in prison on the gun conviction, to run from and after his life term on the murder conviction; however, the issue of parole will be left up to the Supreme Judicial Court.

    According to Assistant District Attorney Amy Galatis, Sierra was shot dead as part of a long-running gang rivalry between Arias' group, which was associated with Mission Hill, and another group affiliated with the Villa Victoria housing development. Sierra was not involved with either group or their feud.

    Galatis also noted that at the time of Sierra's murder, Arias was 17 years old and in the custody of the Dept. of Youth Services for a previous incident in which he unlawfully possessed a loaded firearm.

    The day of the murder, Arias was allegedly given a one-day pass to attend a Red Sox game; however, evidence showed he left two hours early and went with now 18-year-old Antonio Saez to the area of the Villa Victoria housing development in the South End where he fatally shot Sierra, Galatis said.

    Saez pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm and received almost two years in a house of correction.

    Prior to sentencing, Sierra's mother remembered her son's promise and potential.

    "My proudest moment as a mother has been collecting certificates of achievement, watching Alex get promoted to the fourth grade shortly after beginning third grade, and, as a teen, being a part of two MIT enrichment programs for talented students," she said. "We all knew Alex was truly talented, with plans to move far beyond a college education. According to one of his MIT program professors, 'Alex represented the best of what kids can achieve.'"

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