For Immediate Release - April 24, 2009

Latin King Gang Member Guilty Of First Degree Murder

A Latin King Gang member who killed his gay lover, both out of jealousy and to cover up their relationship, was convicted of first degree murder this afternoon in Salem Superior Court.

Judge David Lowy sentenced Christian "King Joker" Almonte, 26, of North Andover, to the mandatory term of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The jury returned its verdict after eight hours of deliberations following the eight-day trial.

Essex Assistant District Attorney A.J. Camelio proved that on the evening of February 24, 2008, Almonte stabbed Willie Escobarr, 41, of Methuen, 20 times in the victim's apartment. Escobar suffered stab wounds to his heart, stomach, chest and back.

Camelio presented evidence that Almonte murdered Escobar out of jealousy because the victim was seeing other men, and because he was afraid that their relationship would be discovered.

Almonte was represented by Attorney Edward Hayden.