Saturday, July 27, 2013

Brazil: Masterminds in two journalists' deaths arrested in Brazil


Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism

On Tuesday 23 July 2013, the Minas Gerais police presented a summary of the investigations into the murders of Rodrigo Neto de Faria, crime reporter from Jornal Vale do Aço newspaper, and his colleague Walgney Carvalho, a photographer. According to the officials, Alessandro Neves Augusto (known as Pitote) is the person behind both executions, which occurred in March and April. The police investigator, Lucio Lirio Leal, was identified as a co-conspirator. Both people have been under arrest since 19 June.

The motives of de Faria killing aren't clear, though. Carvalho's shooting was confirmed as a witness elimination. The photographer had claimed publicly (including on social media) to know who was the responsible for de Faria's murder. Pitote monitored Carvalho online and planned the shooting based on the photographer's online posts.

Emerson Morais, the deputy in charge of both cases, says the relation between the cases was proved by a ballistic report showing the same gun was used in both crimes. The revolver has not been found yet. Phone surveillance was also crucial for solving the case, states Morais. Before the crime, Pitote and Lucio Lirio Leal eschanged 130 phone calls. After them, 200 calls were made.

Four other policemen arrested for alleged involvement with a death squad acting in the region (whose crimes were investigated by Rodrigo Neto de Faria) may have been the actual shooters, and were connected to Pitote. However, this has not been confirmed by the police.