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Brockton woman convicted of cinder block slaying

October 14, 2011

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BROCKTON, Mass.—A Brockton woman accused of beating a friend to death with a cinder block has been convicted of first-degree murder at her second trial.

Sheila Berry was sentenced to a mandatory term in life in prison without parole after jurors returned the verdict Thursday following a six-day trial in Superior Court.

The 36-year-old Berry was convicted in 2006 of killing 23-year-old Admilson Goncalves by repeatedly hitting him over the head with a cinder block.

The Supreme Judicial Court overturned the conviction in 2010, saying the judge's instructions to the jury were wrong, finding problems with the way the jury was instructed about the woman's consumption of alcohol and her claim that she was legally insane at the time.

Defense attorneys said Berry had a long history of mental illness.