After a trial that lasted for eight and a half hours, Leandro Cintra da Silva was sentenced to 14 years in prison for involvement in the murder of broadcaster Jefferson Pureza on January 17, 2018. The popular jury took place in the city of Edeia, in the state of Goias.
The trial of councilman Jose Eduardo Alves da Silva – accused of being the mastermind of the crime – and Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos – who allegedly introduced the minors to the councilman – has not yet been scheduled but should take place until December. Of the six defendants, three minors are undergoing socio-educational measures: one would be the sniper, another would have driven the motorcycle, and the third referred both for the service. According to investigations, the crime was negotiated for 5,000 reais and a revolver.
Pureza was killed on the night of January 17, 2018, with three shots to the face, when he was surprised while resting on the porch of his house. The house is on the outskirts of the city of Edealina, where he lived with his partner, then 17 years old, who was four months pregnant.
The score of the popular jury was 4 to 3 and sentenced Silva for qualified homicide (12 years and four months) and corruption of minors (one year and eight months). He owns the car wash where the crime was negotiated, and his cell phone was used by one of the minors to arrange the murder with the other teenagers. Judge Aluizio Martins Pereira de Souza started the trial at 8.30 am on Friday. Prosecutors Thiago Galindo Placheski and Joao Marcos Ramos Andere acted on the accusation, in addition to lawyer Joel Pires, who served as a prosecuting assistant.
The murder of the broadcaster was the first case handled by the Tim Lopes Program team, developed by Abraji (Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism), with support from the Open Society Foundations, to combat violence against journalists and impunity for those responsible.
When there are crimes related to the exercise of the profession, a network of traditional and independent media outlets is activated to follow the investigations and publish reports on the allegations in which the journalist worked until he or she was killed. Currently, the network includes Public Agency, Post Office (BA), O Globo, Poder 360, Ponte Jornalismo, Projeto Colabora, TV Aratu, TV Globo, and Veja.
The second case is that of radio broadcaster Jairo de Sousa, who died in the early hours of June 21, 2018, with two shots to the chest when he arrived to work at Perola FM radio, in the city of Braganca, in the state of Para. The suspect of being the mastermind of the death of Sousa is the councilman Cesar Monteiro. He reportedly hired a group of ten people to carry out the crime. According to the records of the investigation, the murder would have cost 30,000 reais.
In March of this year, councilman Cesar Monteiro had his preventive detention revoked after the Para Court of Justice granted him a habeas corpus. The release of the councilman happened 26 days after the licensing term of the City Council of Braganca had expired. At the time, there was a group articulating the request to revoke the councilman's authority. The councilman's defense filed an appeal for him to wait, in freedom, until the case is heard. There is still no date set for the popular jury.
Threats and death in Edealina
Jefferson Pureza started working in Edealina in 2016 and made constant references and accusations about bids and contracts signed by the city administration in the previous year. The broadcaster belonged to a political group opposed to the group of ex-mayor Joao Batista Gomes Rodrigues, or “Batista Boiadeiro” and councilor Jose Eduardo, who was secretary of Urban Actions under Batista Boiadeiro.
One year before his murder, on his January 26, 2017, Pureza said live on his show “A voz do povo” that there was a plan for his death. He also said that if something happened to him, those responsible would be the councilman and the ex-mayor. The show lasted one hour, starting at 11 am, and was broadcast on community radio Beira Rio FM.
Other incidents occurred throughout 2017. In August, a radio transmitter was stolen, and there was a small fire. The following month, the house where Pureza’s ex-wife and children lived in Pontalina, a neighboring city, was shot.
In November, in Edealina, a new arson broke out that destroyed the facilities of the community radio station. The receiver was stolen. To circumvent the lack of physical space for his broadcasts, Pureza used his own Facebook profile to run his show for a few days.
A few days after Jefferson Pureza's murder, councilor Alves da Silva went to the Edeia police station to provide clarifications even without being officially summoned. In the four and a half-page testimony, taken at 4:50 pm on January 30, 2018, he recounts his life in the city, his troubled marriage that ended after 17 years, and the attacks he received from the broadcaster. Alves da Silva says that Pureza only referred to him as “councilman for the transfer of votes” because he accused him of having transferred voters from other cities to guarantee his election and still accused him of appropriating the land of the community garden.
Regarding the accusation of having planned an attack on the broadcaster, he said that in 2017 he would have arranged with a boy named Junio to beat Jefferson up "to get him out of town" and set his car on fire. The promised money, 3,000 reais, would be paid by Pastor Thiago Marinho, current Secretary of Administration. According to the statement, because his wife found out, the plan did not go ahead. Marinho denied in testimony that he was involved in the case.
The councilman also revealed that, in 2013, he separated from his wife, Marley Alves de Jesus Faleiro, for having discovered she had an affair with a young man and, at the time, during an argument, having grabbed her by the neck, threatening her with death. The woman moved to the city of Uberlândia, in the state of Minas Gerais. He also said he was jealous and that he even hired a man named Daniel to kill her for 5,000 reais. However, the councilman's father discovered the plan and made him give up, even though the money had been paid. The couple remained separated for four months and then got back together. In November 2017, the two parted ways, because the woman did not forgive his betrayal "with a woman named Kelly."
Separated again, the councilman began to suspect that the ex-wife was having an affair with the radio host and said he had returned to the plan to have Jefferson Pureza beaten up. He said that, in December 2017, Marcelo Rodrigues dos Santos introduced him to two teenagers in Aragoiania, a neighboring city. The meeting took place in a car wash, and the set value for the service would be 4,000 reais. Nevertheless, according to him, because Marcelo was arrested for involvement in drug trafficking, the plan was not consummated.
A new plan took place in December, when the councilman, along with Santos, met Cintra da Silva and the teenager Gabriel Gonçalves Feliciano, whom he proposed to kill the radio host.
Feliciano did not accept the deal and referred to Thiago Batista Nunes, who rejected the 4,000 offered and claimed that he would only accept the service for 5,000 reais and a revolver.
Santos would then have indicated Rodrigo Moura to ride the motorbike. After the crime, Nunes sought out Feliciano and threatened him if he revealed the backstage of the negotiation. The councilman also sought out Feliciano and gave him 200 reais for having indicated the teenagers to carry out the crime.
Later, the councilman denied that he ordered the killing of the radio broadcaster. He said he went to Aragoiania just to help Marcelo Santos look for a job card and talked to him about the problem he was going through, his separation, and the suspicions of her involvement with the radio host. In this version, Santos would have taken him to the car wash and introduced people to execute the radio broadcaster's death. After a few conversations, he gave up on the subject and said that he was committed to "go on with his life."
Santos admitted that he was an ex-con and that he was arrested because he did not appear in court for working temporarily. He confirmed that he went with the councilman to Aragoiania in search of his work card that was in a previous service. In this version, the councilman was the one who would have talked about giving Pureza a beating. Santos denied having introduced the minors.
Accused of shooting the broadcaster, teenager Thiago Nunes denies the crime but confirmed that he was approached by Gabriel Feliciano to do a job. He said he met the councilman, who was very nervous and would have offered him 5,000 reais and a gun, but that he had not accepted the offer. Rodrigo Moura, who would have ridden the motorcycle used the night of the crime, said he didn't know anything about any negotiation.
In his turn, Feliciano claimed to have received the proposal from the councilman to kill the radio broadcaster, but that he did not accept and indicated Nunes and Moura. He also said that, after the crime, he was threatened by Nunes to assume the entire crime; otherwise he would kill his family.
In his radio shows, Jefferson Pureza referred to two 2015 lawsuits involving ex-mayor Joao Batista Boiadeiro filed before the Court of Edeia. One of them concerned public works and suspicion of bid fraud. In the case, the Intelligence Center of the Public Prosecutor's Office of the state of Goias presented a report made on December 16, 2016, in which it showed the links between the companies and the former mayor.
The report included data from different companies. The representative of one of these companies, called Leopoldina Construtora, was Jose Cassiano da Costa, who also appeared in another contract between the city and a company called Leiliane Alves de Lima, who won a school transport contract. In this second contract, he was identified as the driver who would carry out the transportation. Costa was quoted in the report where the MP asks for new steps, in addition to asking that everyone involved be heard again to explain this relationship between company contracts and the former mayor.
The report showed that the company Leopoldina changed its corporate name, continuing to win the works of the city hall and events since it added other activities in the company. The process is stalled at the Court. Costa is currently the municipal secretary responsible for the Department of Transport, Works and Urban Development, under the management of the current mayor Winicius Miranda, a member of the same political group as the former mayor.
In this case, the work in question was a parking lot. The complaint was made by Sirio dos Santos Souza, who said he was hired for the work, received from the mayor himself 25,000 reais, and performed 85% of the service when he was dismissed. The city government then hired another company, Leopoldina Construtora EIRELE-ME, to carry out the same service, which was nearly done then and received 13,000 reais.
The same company had other contracts with the city in 2015, totaling 384,800 reais. Company Leopoldina changed its corporate name to Sheknar Construtora and expanded its functions with another branch of the company – Sheknar Eventos, which also operates under the name VHS Eventos Eireli.
In the second case, on December 19, 2017, prosecutor Maria Cecília de Jesus Ferreira filed a complaint against former mayors Joao Batista and Divino Celio Neves. The case occurred in 2015 and at the time resulted in the arrest of the then-mayor Joao Batista, who would be using city hall machinery for illegal extraction of sand in a river that passes through the Divino Neves farm. The cargo would be taken to a farm belonging to Joao Batista. The complaint was filed, and police officers arrested the then-mayor.
Forensics showed that there was an environmental crime and then started a battle of appeals, in which the Joao Batista had a partial victory since he had jurisdictional prerogative since he was then the mayor. The case was put on hold until 2018, when a new appeal was filed, until Joao Batista would no longer have the benefit of jurisdictional prerogative and could be tried. The Public Prosecutor’s Office then filed a complaint. So far, there has been no progress on the case.