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By Lisa Redmond

MediaNews

WOBURN — In describing the brutal beating and repeated stabbing suffered by 19-year-old Allison Myrick at the hands of her former boyfriend, prosecutor Lisa McGovern told a jury, “Robert Gulla didn’t just kill Allison Myrick, he overkilled her.”

After only two hours of deliberation, following a two-and-a-half-week trial, a Middlesex Superior Court jury on Wednesday found the 21-year-old Shirley resident guilty of first-degree murder and violation of a restraining order in the Jan. 23, 2010 slaying of the Groton girl.

While the murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole, Judge Thomas Billings postponed sentencing until Thursday morning so the victim’s family could provide victim-impact statements if they choose to.

After the verdict, the Myrick family left the courthouse without comment.

Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone said in a statement, “This is a tragic case, and combating domestic violence remains a priority point of focus for this office… Our thoughts remain with the victim’s family.”

During her closing argument on Wednesday, McGovern recalled how Myrick’s lifeless body was found at the bottom of the basement stairs in Gulla’s home. Myrick’s blood had soaked into the carpet and blood spatter was on the walls and the ceiling.

“Robert Gulla’s intent was to kill and that intent was recorded in blood,” McGovern told the jury.

Myrick, a freshman at Fitchburg State College, was pummeled by 11 blows to the face, stabbed three times in the head, stabbed five times in the abdomen, and stabbed twice in the back, McGovern said.

Myrick’s throat was slit and she had been shot between the eyes with a pellet gun, McGovern said.

As a final insult to her body, Gulla extinguished his lit cigarette on her flesh before cutting his wrist and shooting himself in the head with a pellet rifle in a suicide attempt.

Gulla’s weapons were: two knives, a pellet gun, a pellet rifle and a lit cigarette, all found at the scene.

The state medical examiner testified that none of the wounds caused Myrick to die immediately. Instead, the Groton teen, who loved to draw and write, suffered, the examiner said.

Although Myrick had a restraining order against Gulla for past abusive behavior toward her, on the night of Jan. 22, 2010, she called Gulla and asked him to bring her to his house.

In text messages she sent the next day, Myrick texted that she “made a mistake” by going to Gulla’s house. She wrote that she was afraid because Gulla had her cell phone and was reading her texts from her new boyfriend.

Defense attorney John Galvin argued in his closing that Gulla suffered from a variety of mental illnesses, including a borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and possibly Asperger’s syndrome (a form of autism). Gulla was socially awkward and unable to respond appropriately in times of stress, Galvin said.

Galvin acknowledged that Gulla killed Myrick, but his defense is that Gulla was incapable at the time of the killing of formulating a specific intent to kill or to know right from wrong due to his mental-health issues.

In Gulla’s suicide note he wrote, “I never wanted this to happen, it just did.”

In the on-again, off-again relationship with Myrick between September 2009 and January 2010, Gulla and Myrick had only been dating for 4 1/2 months before her murder.

Galvin told the jury that most people would have ended the relationship after learning that a girlfriend had a new boyfriend. Galvin described this as a “love triangle saturated by alcohol.”

In a “swell of anger, rage and hopelessness, Rob acts and lashes out (at Myrick) and this horrible event occurred,” Galvin said.

But McGovern told the jury, “These were brutal acts. Allison Myrick suffered a shockingly painful, brutal death.”

Follow Lisa Redmond at www.twitter.com/lredmond13.

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