By William Tauro
After a week long trial and the jury deliberating since last Friday, on Monday afternoon, Michael Barnett, 32, of Somerville has been found guilty of first degree murder by a jury of twelve in the November 22, 2009 death of Christopher Souza of Somerville.
Michael Barnett has been on trial this past week for murder charges, armed robbery and witness intimidation for Souza’a death.
According to police, the victim was discovered by his mother lying motionless on his living room floor in the morning of November 23, 2009.
The victim had several cords wrapped around his neck and was determined to be deceased.
An autopsy by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined the cause of death to be strangulation by ligature and the manner of death to be homicide.
An investigation was launched. The investigation revealed that the victim’s Xbox and Playstation video game systems were missing from the apartment in which he lived.
Recent news coverage of the case helped to generate new leads in the investigation which lead to the charges.
According to authorities, it is alleged that on the night of November 22, 2009, Barnett was looking to buy drugs but did not have any money to pay for the drugs.
It is alleged that Barnett went to the victim’s home in Somerville late that evening. The defendant allegedly stole the victim’s Xbox and Playstation video game systems and strangled the victim to death with the cords from the game consoles.
It is further alleged that the defendant then sold the Playstation for $50, using the money to buy drugs.
Police were able to confirm the IP address of the Playstation and contacted the buyer who had activated Souza’s online account.
The buyer alleged he purchased the game system from Barnett.
Barnett was indicted March 28, 2013 by a Middlesex Grand Jury on charges of murder, armed robbery and witness intimidation.
A second defendant, Kelly Murray, 32, of Somerville, was charge with witness intimidation (two counts).
Murray was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on March 29, 2013 where Assistant Clerk Magistrate Matt Day ordered her held on $5,000 cash bail with conditions to stay away from any witnesses and comply with current conditions of probation on an unrelated case.
Upon bail review, Murray’s bail was lowered to $2,500 and she was placed on house arrest with GPS monitoring.
Murray, the girlfriend of the defendant, is charged with intimidating a witness for allegedly lying to police during the investigation.
The case was investigated by Somerville Police and State Police assigned to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.