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Thomas Junta Found Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter

Aired January 11, 2002 - 17:57   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We are told there is a verdict in the Boston rink rage trial, the so-called -- what's been called the rink rage trial. This is the trial of Thomas Junta, accused of beating another father to death after their sons' hockey practice.

Let's listen in on the courtroom.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jurors and the defendant remain standing. Everyone else may be seated.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your Honor, may I inquire at this time?

JUDGE CHARLES GRABAU, MIDDLESEX SUPERIOR COURT: Yes, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Forelady, has your jury agreed upon its verdict?

FORELADY: We have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Higgins (ph) may have the verdict at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May it be recorded, Your Honor?

GRABAU: Yes, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Madam Forelady, as to indictment No. 20001000001, charging the defendant, Thomas Junta, with manslaughter, what say you? Is the defendant guilty or not guilty?

Is the defendant guilty or not guilty?

GRABAU: On any theory, is he guilty or not guilty?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes ma'am. Guilty or not guilty, please.

FORELADY: (OFF-MIKE)

GRABAU: Is he guilty or not guilty?

FORELADY: (OFF-MIKE) guilty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As to involuntary manslaughter?

FORELADY: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So say you, Madam Forelady?

FORELADY: I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So say all members of this panel?

JURY: I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members of the jury, you will (UNINTELLIGIBLE) your verdict as recorded by the court.

GRABAU: Ladies and gentlemen, please be seated one moment, please.

Counsel, sidebar.

WOODRUFF: We have just heard the judge in the case ask the jurors what their finding is. And if we heard it correctly, they said guilty of involuntary manslaughter, which would be a lesser sentence than the alternative, which was voluntary manslaughter. It would have been 15 to 20 years. This is just three to five or six years.

Let's listen.

GRABAU: I'll be there in the deliberating room in a few moments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (OFF-MIKE)

GRABAU: Mr. Junta, you may be seated as well. Counsel.

Let me ask the commonwealth, is the commonwealth ready to make a recommendation and to present any victim impact statements, or witnesses at this time?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, your honor, commonwealth is.

GRABAU: And Mr. Orlandi, are you ready to proceed with the disposition at this time with any presentation or arguments that you have, sir?

THOMAS ORLANDI, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: No, your honor, but we do have a motion for a stay of execution, pending appeal.

GRABAU: OK. Well, do you need -- do you need time?

ORLANDI: Yes, Your Honor. We are asking for two weeks to prepare a memorandum (UNINTELLIGIBLE) response from (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

GRABAU: Ms. Hawkins (ph), you have moved for sentencing, and you have preserved your rights. Do you wish to make a presentation, a partial presentation at this time as to recommendation, or you want to save it until the day I put this over to you?

(AUDIO GAP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... day that you put it (OFF-MIKE).

GRABAU: OK. I'm vacating the bail status, I'm remanding the defendant to the custody of the sheriff, and the matter is put over to the 25th of this month for disposition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So ordered.

(OFF-MIKE)

GRABAU: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All rise.

WOODRUFF: And there you have it. Thomas Junta, the man whose lawyer just patted him on the shoulder, has been found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the beating death of Thomas Costin (sic), another man -- another man who -- the two men -- their sons had been participating in a hooky practice in July of last year, that got into one fight, then another fight. The second fight led to the death of Mr. Costin.

Now the jurors could have found Thomas Junta guilty of voluntary manslaughter, would have meant many more years in prison, as many as 20 years in prison. A finding of involuntary manslaughter could mean as few as three to five years in prison, although that will be determined on the day of sentencing. We heard the judge say he wants the parties back in court on January 25.

Once again, Thomas Junta found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the beating death of another father after the hockey practice that their two sons were involved in. A very emotional trial in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After just a day and a half of deliberations, the jurors have come back with this verdict.

We'll have more on it later.

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