Westport man convicted of murdering girlfriend’s son looking for new trial after lawyers say there is new evidence to exonerate him



Photo courtesy of family

A Westport man has expressed his innocence for 28 years. He is hoping that a new court filing will eventually exonerate him.

According to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, a jury in the Superior Court convicted Brian Peixoto of murder in the first degree of three-year-old Christopher Affonso Jr, his girlfriend’s son, and was sentenced to life without parole in MCI Concord.

The Commonwealth’s account is as follows.

Peixoto lived with his girlfriend, Ami Sneed, and her two young children, Christopher and Tarissa. Peixoto often cared for the two children while Ami attended school. On the morning of January 22, 1996, Christopher reportedly wet his bed and Peixoto told Ami that he would change Christopher while she finished getting ready for school. Christopher appeared “wobbly” at breakfast after Peixoto had changed him, and he fell asleep in Peixoto’s truck while they drove Ami to school. Peixoto agreed to watch Christopher for the day rather than send him to school.

When Ami returned home later that afternoon, she noticed a new red bump on Christopher’s head, which Peixoto attributed to Christopher having fallen down the stairs outside the house. Peixoto took Christopher and Tarissa downstairs to the basement to watch a videotape while Ami spoke to Steve Morton, a friend who had spent the night. Morton “heard bumping” and heard Christopher crying. Peixoto called up from the basement that Christopher had fallen down the stairs, but he was fine. Later that afternoon, Morton left Peixoto’s house. The only persons remaining in the home were Peixoto, Ami, Christopher, and Tarissa. All four ate pizza and then Christopher and Tarissa went downstairs to the basement to watch a movie. The defendant and Ami watched a television talk-show program upstairs together that prompted a heated argument between them. Their argument moved downstairs, where Ami told Peixoto that she was going to move out. She began packing clothes for herself and her two children. Peixoto remained downstairs with Christopher and Tarissa while Ami went upstairs to smoke a cigarette.

As Ami finished her cigarette, she heard Tarissa calling her. On her way down the stairs, Ami heard four or five bangs, “like someone was punching the wall.” Tarissa was at the bottom of the stairs and asked Ami to pick her up, which she did. Ami saw Peixoto in the basement on his hands and knees cleaning up vomit and Christopher lying on the floor beside him. When Ami asked Peixoto what had happened, he stated that Christopher had gotten sick, and he picked Christopher up in his arms and walked toward Ami. Christopher’s eyes were rolling in his head and Peixoto said to him, “Brian [the defendant] will never yell at you again. Come on, Buddy. Come on, Buddy.”

Peixoto and Ami drove Christopher to a nearby fire station in Westport, and from there he was transported by ambulance to a Fall River hospital. Ami continued to ask Peixoto what happened. He said he believed Christopher had had a seizure. Immediately before arriving at the hospital, Peixoto told Ami that, if Christopher survived, the hospital was not going to give him back to her “because of the bruises.” Ami did not know what Peixoto meant by this statement, but they arrived at the hospital before Peixoto had an opportunity to explain. While at the hospital, he told Ami that Christopher had been banging his head on the floor. Peixoto picked up Tarissa and announced that he was leaving and not coming back because he did not want to be blamed for what had happened.

It was ruled that Christopher died at the hospital of blunt force trauma to his head. The medical examiner testified that there were multiple scrapes and contusions over Christopher’s head, upper arms, back, legs, chest, and genitals that were recent.

Peixoto, his representation, and supporters, however, have a different account that they say can now be proved through evidence, which warrants a new trial.

According to a recent filing by Peixoto’s legal team, the Commonwealth’s medical examiner prematurely and erroneously concluded that Christopher’s death was due to a violent assault.

The filing also alleges that the child abuse expert in the case testified well beyond his area of expertise and falsely attributed findings to the medical examiner.

The reexamination of evidence shows that no one beat Christopher to death, according to the filing, and that the child was not a healthy, well-cared for child and that the bruises were from an earlier fall.

The paperwork also alleges that Christopher was stumbling, tripping, and acting drunk the morning of his death, yet Sneed failed to take the child to a medical appointment that morning.

The new evidence reportedly shows that Christopher had deadly sodium and chloride levels detected at the hospital the night he died. Lab results and records also established that Christopher had PTDI, Post-Traumatic Diabetes Insipidus, triggered by a traumatic impact to his skull which took days, not hours, to develop.

The post-conviction re-examination of the child abuse expert’s testimony also alleges that he gave misleading and false testimony.

The filing alleges that Christopher’s head injury that caused his death could not have happened that day due to the new revelations that it only became fatal because it went untreated for so long and that there was no reliable evidence that his bruises were caused that night either.

Lastly, the legal argument also suggests that the new evidence undermines Ami Sneed’s credibility, and that the evolution of her account was motivated by an awareness of her own neglect and desire for her to cover for herself.

If Peixoto is granted a new trial, it is currently unclear when it will take place. To read the full instant motion, click here.


  1. Jason Rearick

    March 13, 2024 at 11:37 am

    He killed the kid let him rot. Look at all those people supporting a murderer.

    • tarisa

      May 10, 2024 at 12:33 pm

      Enough said . That was my baby brother killed. After the monster did dirty things to me to. i have flashbacks of it all.

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