For Immediate Release - March 05, 2010

Methuen Man Convicted Of First Degree Murder

A Methuen man who beat a woman over the head with a hammer, then attacked her son with the same weapon, was found guilty this afternoon in Lawrence Superior Court of first degree murder on a theory of extreme atrocity and cruelty, assault with intent to murder, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Judge Leila Kern scheduled sentencing for Monday for Levi Alcantara, 34, of Methuen, who faces the mandatory term of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Essex Assistant District Attorneys Marcia Slingerland and Karen Hopwood proved that on April 22, 2006, Alcantara bludgeoned to death Maria Sastre, 34, in her Lawrence apartment. When her 14 year-old son tried to intervene, Alcantara beat him with the hammer and the child suffered a depressed skull fracture and lacerations, requiring surgery.

The jury deliberated for 8 ½ hours over two days following the two-week long trial.

The prosecutors lauded Lawrence Police Detectives, Massachusetts State Police and chemists from the State Crime Laboratory for their outstanding investigation, as well as Victim/Witness Advocate Jocelyn Pichardo for assisting the victim's two sons through the court process and trial.

Alcantara was represented by Attorney Ronald Ranta.