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Man Who Shouted Racial Slur at Black Man After Accident, Then Fatally Struck Him with Truck Is Sentenced

"The murder of Henry Tapia is a senseless tragedy fueled by hate and anger," Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a release at the time

<p>David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images</p> Dean Kapsalis

David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Dean Kapsalis

A Mass. man convicted of murdering a Black man during a racist road rage incident has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 15 years.

Dean Kapsalis was convicted of second-degree murder in 2023 for killing Henry Tapia after a road rage argument in January 2021.

According to investigators, Kapsalis, while getting back into his truck after the argument, called Tapia a racial slur. Then he struck the 34-year-old man with his truck before driving off.

Tapia was taken to the hospital, where he died from his injuries.

In May, Kapsalis was convicted of second-degree murder, violation of constitutional rights causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery by means of dangerous weapon (motor vehicle) causing serious bodily injury and leaving the scene after causing injury.

"The murder of Henry Tapia is a senseless tragedy fueled by hate and anger," Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a release at the time. "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 was sentenced for his crimes on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press, NBC News and The Boston Globe.

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Per The Globe, judge Judge David A. Deakin noted that Kapsalis had a tendency toward violence when he announced the sentence, which he said was proportional to the crime.

Tapia was a father of three who had a fiancée. The judge also addressed the victim's family.

“I am well aware that no sentence can give them what they most want, which is to have Mr. Tapia back,” Deakin said. “If I could, I wouldn’t do anything other than that.”

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