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BELMONT, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man was convicted of murder in the 2021 death of a Black man after a road rage encounter in which he yelled a racial slur, the Middlesex District Attorney's office said Monday.
Dean Kapsalis, of Hudson, was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder, violation of constitutional rights and other offenses in the killing of Henry Tapia, District Attorney Marian Ryan said at a news conference.
“The murder of Henry Tapia is a senseless tragedy fueled by hate and anger," Ryan said in a statement. "The fact that some of the last words Henry Tapia heard were a horrific racial insult meant to intimidate and threaten him based on the color of his skin is something we cannot tolerate.
Kapsalis, 56, and Tapia, 34, got into an argument Jan. 19, 2021. Investigators found that as the argument wound down, Kapsalis shouted the slur and then hit Tapia with his pickup. Tapia died at a hospital, prosecutors said.
Kapsalis argued at trial that Tapia’s death was an accident.