A Suffolk Superior Court jury today convicted Jason Barbosa, 24, of first-degree murder for the shooting death of a childhood friend who became a mortal enemy when he joined a rival gang, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
The verdict means a mandatory sentence of life without possibility of parole.
The DA's office says Barbosa, as a member of the Woodward Avenue gang in Roxbury, was involved in a long running and violent feued with the Wendover Street gang in Dorchester.
Depina, the evidence showed, grew up with Barbosa and for years was his close friend; Barbosa later aligned himself with Woodward – Wendover's sworn rivals.
Tension between the two groups was running high in the aftermath of a Dec. 24, 2011, altercation between Woodward and Wendover associates. In that incident, Barbosa was shot by Depina's friends during a confrontation at a gas station in Boston's South End.
Even after the shooting, however, Depina travelled into rival territory on the night of Feb. 23, 2012, and encountered Barbosa inside a bar on Norfolk Avenue. Later that evening, as Depina stood outside the bar, Barbosa drove by in a vehicle that slowed down as it passed him.
"You don't belong here," Barbosa said to his one-time friend.
Things escalated even further at about 11:15 p.m., when Depina was leaving the area. After a set of headlights from a nearby car flashed repeatedly in what prosecutors said was a signal, Barbosa approached Depina.
Knowing what would happen next, Depina asked a question of his one-time friend – "For real, Little J?" – before three shots rang out. Depina suffered two gunshot wounds, one to the head and one to the chest, either of which could have been fatal. He died at the scene.
Barbosa survived three shootings, including the 2007 shootout that killed Kentucky college student Chiara Levin.