Friday, February 07, 2014

Brazil: Journalist's murderers convicted and sentenced for 2012 crime


Two people accused of the 2012 murder of Brazilian journalist and blogger Décio Sá were convicted and sent to prison on 4 February 2014, in Maranhão state (Northeast region). Jhonatan de Sousa Silva, a defendant who confessed, was sentenced to 23 years and 3 months. Marcos Bruno Oliveira, responsible for taking Silva to the execution site, will serve 18 years and 3 months.

During the trial, Silva changed his previous account of the crime in which he had said that the person behind the crime was the enterpreneur Raimundo Sales Junior, known as Junior Bolinha. In court on 4 February, Silva told the jury that he was hired by a man identified as Marco Antonio, known as Neguinho Barrao.

According to Silva, the police coerced him to name Junior Bolinha as the mastermind behind the murder: "They threatened my family. They wanted me to confirm their line of investigation". Marcos Bruno Oliveira's defense alleged that he was tortured for about 12 hours to force him to take responsibility for the crime. The Maranhão Department of Public Safety did not comment on this allegation.

In April 2012, Décio Sá was shot to death in the city of Sao Luis, Maranhão. According to the police, he was having dinner alone at a resturant when a man approached him and fired six times.

A journalist for 17 years, Sá was a reporter for O Estado de Maranhão newspaper, owned by the political Sarney family. He also ran Blog do Décio, one of the most popular blogs on Maranhão politics.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the crime was ordered by a loan shark group also involved in million-real public funds fraud in Maranhão. Sá had allegedly discovered the scam and was going to disclose details of it on his blog.

In February 2013, one of the witnesses to the crime died after being shot. Ricardo Santos Silva, known as Carioca, was also a suspect in a case of extorsion and illegal gambling.