Massachusetts man sentenced to life in prison with possibility of parole in racist road rage killing

A Massachusetts man convicted of murder in the death of a Black man following a racist road rage encounter in 2021 was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

Dean Capsalis, of Hudson, was convicted by a jury last year of second-degree murder, violation of constitutional rights and other crimes in the killing of Henry Tapia. On January 19, 2021, Kapsalis and Tapia got into an argument. Investigators found that as the argument ended, Kapsalis made a racial slur and then hit Tapia with his pickup while driving. Prosecutors said Tapia died at a hospital.

"The murder of Henry Tapia is a senseless tragedy motivated by hatred and anger," District Attorney Marion Ryan said after the conviction last year. "The fact that some of the last words heard by Henry Tapia were a horrific racial slur intended to intimidate and threaten him based on the color of his skin is something we cannot tolerate."

Judge David A. Deakin described the sentence Wednesday as commensurate with the crime, according to The Boston Globe. While he noted the support Casalis had received from friends and family, he added that "your record essentially reflects a lifelong propensity toward violence."

Deakin also addressed relatives of Tapia, who leaves behind a fiancee and children.

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Deakin said, "I am well aware that no sentence can give them what they want most, which is to bring Mr. Tapia back." "If I could, I wouldn't do anything else."

Kapsalis argued at trial that Tapia's death was an accident. His sentencing was delayed due to an unsuccessful attempt to reduce his sentence in the murder case.

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