North End man wins parole eligibility for 1986 double murder

By Mackenzie Nichols

Louis Costa, a convicted murderer currently serving two consecutive life sentences for a 1986 North End double homicide, was re-sentenced Friday to two concurrent sentences which means he is now eligible for parole. Costa, now 45, was 16-years-old when he and Frank DiBenedetto conspired in the killings of Frank Chiuchiolo and Joseph Bottari in Slye Park, and at 16 was sentenced to two consecutive sentences without parole.

Costa’s hearing Friday began with a statement written by Nancy Bottari, Joseph Bottari’s mother.

Costa gunned down her son and shot him 16 times, Nancy Bottari stated, and thus Joseph was never allowed to live the life that he deserved. Frank DiBenedetto, the other murderer, reportedly shot Chiucholo four more times in the head at close range. Nancy asked the judge to consider her statement while deliberating Costa’s possible parole eligibility in 21 months.

Assistant District Attorney John Zanini later argued that the defendant has never acknowledged his wrongdoings and reportedly admitted to authorities that he took pleasure in his “violent conduct,” making him a permanent threat to the people of Boston.

“He has shown no empathy, no remorse, and no compassion,” Zanini told the judge. 

Defense attorney David Apfel argued that while in prison, Costa earned a college degree with honors from Boston University, remained well-behaved with no record of disciplinary tickets since 1989, and founded the Restorative Justice Program which works to ease tensions between convicts and victims’ families.

“Zanini doesn’t know Costa in the slightest,” Apfel said in his statement. “He became more than a client to me because of who he is.”

Costa delivered a tearful statement at the end of hearing. Apologizing for his stupidity, Costa said he grew up around violence in the North End, was influenced by his father and grandfather. At 16 years old, he said, he thought that fighting made him a man.

“I am sincerely sorry,” Costa said. “My hope is that my words will provide some sort of comfort. God bless Joseph and Frank.”

Costa’s case falls under a ruling the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made in 2013, which declares that juvenile offenders - those who were under 18 years old when they were convicted of murder - cannot be automatically sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, because it would be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

The judge at Suffolk Superior Court granted Costa his desired resentencing of two concurrent life sentences, deeming him eligible for parole in 21 months.

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