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Comendador Gets 19 Years

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Source:  Associação Brasileira da Imprensa | Fato Notório

The sentencing council of a Cuiabá criminal court has voted, 4-3, to sentence former state policeman turned organized crime boss to 19 years in prison for arranging the  murder of Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima Filho Junior, 41, owner of the daily Folha do Estado, in September 2002.

According to the state high court of Mato Gross (TJ-MT), Judge Marcos Faleiro set the sentence at 19 years because João Arcanjo Ribeiro ordered subordinates to commit murder, doubly qualified …

The federal Public Ministry declared at the the time that Sávio Brandão published various articles in his newspaper denouncing a criminal organization led the defendant, who denies the claim.

Comendador João Arcanjo Ribeiro — the honorary title conferred upon Arcanjo by the legislative assembly of Mato Grosso — will initially be subject to maximum security and will not be allowed to await the results of his appeals in freedom. The comendador has been in preventive detention since  2003, accused of taking part in the murders of Mauro Sérgio Manhoso, Rivelino Jacques Brunini, Fauze Rachid Jaudy, Valdir Pereira, Leandro Gomes dos Santos, Celso Borges, and Mauro Celso de Moraes. There is also a charge attempted murder targeting Gisleno Fernandes. All the crimes were registered between 2000 and 2002 in Cuiabá and Várzea Grande.

The trial of Arcanjo, expected to last two days, began [last Thursday] morning. There was a heavy police presence. Immediately following the sentencing jury and the passing of sentence, at 9:00 a.m.  Arcanjo’s attorney argued for the dismissal of the charges. On the previous day, the federal appears court,  Superior Tribunal de Justiça (STJ), had already rejected a petition against the use of a popular jury.

According to the Folha de S. Paulo, senior magistrate Rui Ribeiro, of the TJ-MT, had turned down a petition b Arcanjo to dispense with the jury, arguing that the local presss, “in solidarity with the victime has produced a publicity massacre of the  defendant.” The judge found the intense interest in the murder of Brandão “only natural.”

The defense also tried to prevent the presentation of evidence by two informants enlisted by the MP: Police official Luciano Inácio, who authored the final report in the case, and Senator Pedro Taques, who, as Attorney-General of the Union, took part in investigating other crimes in which the comendador took part. The honorary title comendador was granted by the state legislative assembly of Mato Grosso.

Charges

Among the witnesses for the accusation, the jury heard from Luiza Marília de Barros Lima, sister of the victim and a witness to the crime, and Maria Luiza Clarentino de Souza, former employee of the daily Folha do Estado de Mato Grosso.

Arcanjo revealed to the judge his involvement in numbers rackeering and casinos, but denied involvement in “nickel hunter” slot machines, as well as the murder of the journalist.

I believe I read at the time that he owned a modest factoring business.

The defendant said he had not been offended by articles published by Sávio Brandão which targeted Arcanjo. “I am a person of humble origins, and ex-cop, a prospector and a successful numbers entrepreneur. People don’t accept that,” Arcanjo said.

After the pronouncement of sentence, relatives of Sávio Brandão seemed relieved:

— We have lived through a very difficult episode in our lives. Now, we fee relieved. It is sad that I cannot hold my son in my arms, said the mother of the victim.

The Crime

Domingos Sávio Brandão de Lima Junior was murdered on Septmber 30, 2002, at 3:30 p.m. in the Consil neighborhood of  Cuiabá. he was struck by gunfire from a 9mm piestol and died on the scene.

The MP-MT accused João Arcanjo Ribeiro of ordering the crime.  Célio Alves de Souza, Hércules Araújo Agostinho, Fernando Barbosa Belo and João Leite were part of the group responsible for the execution of the publisher. 

The death of Sávio Brandão shocked Brazi and led to a major police operation known as “Noah’s Ark,”in 2002. The operation dismantled the comendador’s operation, but he managed to make his escape to Uruguay, where he was captured in April 2003.

The trial of Arcanjo, which has followed legal channels since September 2003, is based on 25 volumes and more than 5,500 pages.

Due to the countless appeals filed by defense counsel in the past 10 years, the case has been considered by every instance of the judiciary, included the Supreme Court and the federal appeals court (STJ).  On September 16 of thisyear, Cuiabá Judge Mônica Catarina Perri Siqueira, set October 24 as the day for trial by jury.