BOSTON -- Two gang members were convicted Thursday of taking part in the vicious Halloween night 'wilding' rape and murder of Kimberly Rae Harbor and immediately sentenced to mandatory life prison terms without chance of parole.
Corey James, 20, and Carlos Garcia, 19 -- members of the 'Pistons' gang in the city's Dorchester section -- were found guilty of first- degree murder and aggravated rape.
A Suffolk Superior Court jury deliberated for three days before convicting the young men in what has been called perhaps the most vicious murder in the history of Boston.
The defendants were among eight members of the gang who allegedly attacked Harbour in Dorchester's Franklin Field on Oct. 31, 1990. Harbour, 26, a reputed prostitute, was repeatedly raped, beaten with sticks, cut with a bottle and stabbed 132 times, according to evidence at the trial.
James, Garcia, the second and third defendants to be convicted in the case, lived in a nearby housing project along with other 'Pistons' members. The first-degree murder convictions carried mandatory life terms without parole.
To bolster its case, the district attorney's office enlisted the cooperation of one of the gang members, 17-year-old Michael Williams, who was tried as a juvenile instead of an adult in return for his testimony. Williams will reportedly be free in December.
The other five defendants are still awaiting trial.
Assistant District Attorney Daniel Mullane called Harbour's slaying a 'Halloween horror,' and said the gang 'set upon her to perform things that are unimaginable.'
But defense lawyers attacked Williams' credibility, pointing out he changed his account of the crime several times. James' lawyer, Robert Nelson Jr., said there was no physical evidence linking his client and Garcia to Harbour's gang rape and murder. James was accused of beating Harbour with a club, while Garcia was charged with attacking her with a bottle.
The case was likened to the 'wilding' assault and robbery of a Central Park jogger in New York in 1989.
Police, who arrested the eight almost three weeks after the attack, were criticized at the time by black community leaders for keeping details of the slaying quiet while they investigated the case.
They said the gang members presented a danger to rest of the community, and compared it to the highly publicized murder a year earlier of Carol Stuart, a white suburban attorney who was fatally shot in another minority neighborhood in Boston. That slaying, which triggered a massive police hunt for the killer, was originally blamed on a black gunman, but was later attributed to Stuart's husband just before he leaped to his death.
Police defended the Harbour investigation, saying the lack of publicity was necessary to gather evidence against the gang, and said the suspects were not regarded as a threat to other residents in the area.