CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - A Harvard University graduate student was convicted yesterday of fatally stabbing a teenage kitchen worker during a late-night street fight in front of a pizza parlor.
Alexander Pring-Wilson, 26, displayed no emotion as the jury, after five days of deliberations, found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter; prosecutors had sought a conviction of first-degree murder.
Pring-Wilson also remained impassive as Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Regina Quinlan sentenced him to six to eight years in state prison; the maximum possible sentence was 12 years.
Relatives of the victim, 18-year-old Michael Colono, did little to hide their disappointment, gasping and emitting groans as the verdict and sentence were handed down. Colono's mother, Ada, sobbed and was comforted by relatives.
Damaris Colono, the victim's sister, made her feelings clear in a statement in court shortly before the sentence was rendered.
"Michael struggled in life, unlike Pring-Wilson," she said. "The power that a white smart man has with money is disturbing. Money should not define justice."
On April 12, 2003, Pring-Wilson, then a student at Harvard's Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, spent the evening bar-hopping with friends and was walking home about 1:45 a.m. Michael Colono, his cousin and his cousin's girlfriend were sitting in a car outside the Pizza Ring restaurant, waiting for their order, when Pring-Wilson walked by.
"Will you look at that guy staggering up the street?" prosecutor Adrienne Lynch quoted Colono as saying. Pring-Wilson approached the car, challenging Colono to repeat the remark, and a fight ensued.
Prosecutors said Pring-WilSon stabbed Colono five times in the chest and abdomen. Colono, a cook in a Cambridge restaurant, suffered a fatal knife thrust to the right ventricle of the heart.
"Michael Colono made fun of the defendant, and it cost him his life," Lynch said.
The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.